A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this app.
Kids can learn about a handful of important famous figures, animals, and historical events. They'll practice reading with a focus on comprehension. Multimedia features may help kids fill in the gaps when they come across words, concepts, or phrases that they don't understand.
Ease of Play
Navigation is mostly clear-cut if sometimes a bit awkward. Tools can be slow to load.
Violence & Scariness
Some passages contain descriptions of violence, such as Revolutionary War battles, or treatment of enslaved people.
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Parents Need to Know
Is It Any Good?
The idea of directly linking resources to help with comprehension turns out to be a bit better in theory than in delivery in this collection of reading material. There's certainly potential for an app that gives kids a variety of ways to understand text and give it meaning. The option that allows users to link their own text to these enhancement features is pretty cool (when and if it works). However, WhizRead feels like an app that could benefit from some additional development. It seems as though the pictures, videos, and audio links are chosen through a search engine rather than an actual person. This results in some odd choices. For example, "North America" is linked to a one-hour long NOVA documentary and an audio track of running water. There is a limited number of included passages, and though they are mostly well matched to their target reading level, they're of variable quality. The computer-generated voice is an easily accessible option for reading text out loud but unfortunately sounds awkward. With so many linked resources, they end up being a potential distraction from the business of actually reading. Finally, though WhizRead is fairly well laid out, some navigation -- such as when kids finish a quiz, or when they want to download a text -- is a bit unwieldy. As a free resource, WhizRead may prove useful for some kids, but needs some improvement to really shine.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.
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