A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this website.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Bookopolis is a great site for kids to connect to readers and explore books they've already read or may like to read. The website tracks and promotes reading and writing through the use of badges and points, which can possibly engage even the most reluctant of readers. Though the site doesn't promote any violence, sex, inappropriate language, or substance abuse, the stories that are separated by grade level could feature varying levels of this content within the stories. Parents will like the ease in which their children will safely explore new titles in this interactive site; kids can't join the site without using an adult's email, which means that parents also can track their children's progress and interaction on this COPPA-compliant website.
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What's it about?
BOOKOPOLIS is a social reading site that allows kids to log, rate, and review books they've read. With a parent's help, kids create an account, choose an avatar, and create lists of books they'd like to read, ones they're currently reading, and ones they've already read. Kids can browse book lists curated by award winners, Common Core-aligned books, read-alike ("if you liked this, try this") suggestions, and more. These built-in lists are available for early readers (grades 1 to 3), older readers (grades 3 to 6), and middle school readers (grades 6 to 8). There's also a Fun & Games section where kids can engage in word games, trivia, and puzzles. Kids earn points and badges by logging their reading and recording their progress, and their friends, parents, and teachers can view their updates.
Is it any good?
Bookopolis provides a great way for kids to find new books. In fact, they're encouraged to reflect on their current and previous reading, which helps to promote the joy and love of reading for kids between the ages of 7 and 12. What's more, this exploration of reading is conducted in a fun, safe environment. Kids need their parents' email addresses and approval to create an account for the site. That's a good way to keep adult supervision as a key component of the use of this COPPA-compliant site, while providing opportunities for online safety and privacy discussions (and discussions about why they're so important).
Beyond this, Bookopolis lets students create a record of what they've read, and the more they read, the more rewards they'll receive. Writing reviews lets students practice their communication and writing skills in a space where they can concentrate more on their words than on who'll read them. Badges and points may serve as good motivators for reluctant readers, and the charming animated design may keep kids coming back. The site's largest detraction is that it's very much a solo affair; there isn't anything on the site that promotes discussion or collaboration among users, which feels like a missed opportunity for learning. But for parents and young readers eager to embrace the joy of reading, Bookopolis could be a great location to spend some quality online time.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about online safety. Why does Bookopolis prompt you to give consent when you're leaving the site? Why is it important for younger kids to stay on a specific site or ask permission before going to another site?
Talk about sharing information with others. Why is it all right to share the books they've read with others since this site is private, but it's not OK to share private information with others?
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