Let’s face it. Kids nowadays do not like to read anymore. Well, they do not read books that is, because they actually read all sorts of things. On the internet especially. Which is not always very good. And somehow it is understandable. Normal books do not have colorful illustrations or fun, lively characters. And it seems like this is exactly what Amazon was thinking when they invented a new reading app just for kids, The Amazon Rapids.
How it works
The name says it all. Amazon Rapids tells stories rapidly. Not just that, but it executes a quick switch between certain characters’ points of view. The catch is that these stories are told in the manner of a normal messaging app. So your kid will think he is reading text messages, but he will actually read a story fit for his age. The app is aimed at kids ages 7 to 12. Its cost is just $2.99 per month, which is not a high price at all.
Amazon Rapids has for the moment hundreds of stories, and more are expected to come every month. There are funny stories, science-fiction ones, fantasy, adventure or mystery. So there a large panel from which a kid can choose what he wants to read. A very interesting and useful thing Amazon has introduced is a glossary. This feature will help children learn the meaning of some words which they have never encountered before. They can also look up various pronunciations of words, so they spell it right in the future. Read, have fun, learn new things! Also, a “read to me” mode is available if the kid want to just listen to the story, instead of reading it.
Doctors are skeptical but not against the app
Jenny Radesky, a developmental behavioral pediatrician at the University of Michigan cannot help but wonder if this app will do any good at all. After all, it is still a virtual way of learning which requires the kid to look into a screen for hours. Isn’t it actually dangerous for their health? But she is not opposing the app. According to her, anything that gets children to read and learn is beneficial, but it must be used with care and for a limited period of time.
But a professor of early childhood education at NYU warns parents that too much screen time might affect the children. She advises them to allow the kids to read on this app for just a few minutes. Too much time spent outside the real world becomes an addiction. And it is not good for their physical and mental health. Also, computer screens were strictly forbidden for the kids below two years old. We are saying “were” because just last month, the American Academy of Pediatrics lifted this ban. They consider it to be too “outdated”.
All in all, Amazon Rapids it is indeed a good alternative for kids who do not want to read real books. They are a modern and fun way to learn new things and practice reading. But it must be used with care and under a parent’s observation. And it must be balanced with real, human interaction. Amazon Rapids is now available for Android, iOS, and Amazon Fire devices.
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