When I was growing up one of my favorite shows was Reading Rainbow with LeVar Burton (I also loved LeVar on Star Trek). When my friends and I reminisce about childhood, Reading Rainbow often comes up. It was just such a wonderful show, and I don’t think only us nerdy reader kids thought so. My little brother, who most definitely was NOT a reader, also remembers loving it. The show began in 1983 and IMDB still lists it as running. However, the last several years they’ve only done a few episodes per year.
Last year sometime I downloaded the free Reading Rainbow app for iPad. I thought it would be fun for Ben. We played around on it a bit, and checked out a couple of books. The free app only allows you to check out five books, so we quickly reached our limit. I didn’t do anything else with this app until this past weekend. I’d noticed recently that Ben, during his iPad time (which is limited) would often be on the Reading Rainbow app. He kept rereading the same five books we had checked out over a year ago. So, the Husband and I discussed signing up for a subscription. You can subscribe for a month for $9.99, 6 months for $29.99, or a year for $49.99. We settled on a month subscription to try it out. If Ben seems to use it a lot we will go ahead and spring for the full year.
Ben has been using this app every day so far, and I love to see it. If you haven’t checked this out for your kiddos yet you should. With a subscription you have unlimited access to the books (and there are tons) available through the app, and there are video field trips with LaVar as well, just like the tv show! Each child can have their own profile and backpack where they keep the books they check out. They get to pick what kinds of subjects they are interested in, and those books are pulled for them to pick through. There are different islands with different themes like travel and science they can visit with books and videos over those subjects. Depending on your child’s age they can read the books on their own, or have them read to them. Ben is four, so we have it set up to be read to him. Some of the books are read by LeVar, others are read by different narrators. The readers are very good, and the books are interactive. Children can swipe certain pages and pictures to see the images move and change.
Once our month subscription trial is up I will check back and let you know if we decide to swing for the year. As of now, I think we will. Money spent on an app that reads books to my pre-schooler and makes him giggle and laugh while he reads along is money well spent.