Spark Reading for Kids

App review by
Mieke VanderBorght, Common Sense Media
Spark Reading for Kids App Poster Image
Short texts, quizzes scratch the surface on range of topics.

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this app.

Educational Value

Kids get practice reading texts targeted towards their grade level. Multiple choice quizzes invite kids to read carefully for comprehension. The text topics introduce kids to a variety of people, historical events, landmarks, animals, myths, food, and more. 

Ease of Play

The text menu is clean and easy to navigate. Reading and quiz taking are both straightforward.

Violence & Scariness

Some stories about history or famous people mildly mention themes of violence, such as conflict after the first Thanksgiving, or the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. 

Sexy Stuff
Language
Consumerism

The free download includes a few stories plus a new one every week. There are frequent invitations to subscribe for full access, and the less expensive monthly option is harder to find than the more costly yearly subscription.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Spark Reading for Kids is a library of short texts with embedded comprehension quizzes. Short stories span a variety of topics, including both fiction and nonfiction. Some stories about historical figures or events include brief mentions of war, conflict, or other types of violence. At the end of each story, kids take a multiple choice quiz. Kids can email their quiz results directly from the app using the device's mail options. They can also email the app's developers from directly in the app. Users can create multiple profiles so that kids collect quiz scores and reading minutes in their own account. There are frequent pushes to subscribe, and it can be difficult to find the monthly option. Read the developer's privacy policy for details on how your (or your kids') information is collected, used, and shared and any choices you may have in the matter, and note that privacy policies and terms of service frequently change.

User Reviews

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What's it about?

Choose a reading level -- 2nd through 8th grade -- to start using SPARK READING FOR KIDS. Then browse through the texts by topic or grade level, and choose one to read. Tap the audio button to hear the text read out loud. Categories include inventions, animals, science, world, famous men, famous women, or food. After reading, take the multiple choice quiz. Quiz scores are displayed under the story icon on the main menu.

Is it any good?

Short texts on a variety of topics provide good reading opportunities for kids, but the library could use more features. With a nice mix of topics, including both fiction and nonfiction, kids are likely to find something that interests them in Spark Reading for Kids. And though the comprehension quizzes are standard multiple choice, many questions do require kids to think a bit to find the right answer. After responding to each question, the app highlights the exact place in the text where the answer can be found. This is a nice, easy way for kids to understand how to pinpoint sections of the text to find answers. The rest of Spark Reading for Kids is pretty average. Texts are short, and breeze through sometimes complex topics. Browsing, navigation options, and data collection could better to improve the user's experience and more meaningful feedback on progress over time. Though there's a large range of topics, there aren't that many texts in each reading level. And the digitized voice with the audio option is great for kids who want -- or need -- to listen rather than read, but it doesn't sound all that great.       

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the texts kids read with Spark Reading for Kids. Which topics interest them the most? Why?

  • These brief texts just scratch the surface of some complex topics. If kids find something that intrigues them, help them research to find out more.

  • How is reading on a screen different than reading from a hard copy book? What positives and negatives aspects are there about each way of reading? Which do you like better? Why?

App details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love reading

Themes & Topics

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