The popular children’s program, Reading Rainbow is returning, but this time not as television program, but as a multi-media app for iPad. As with the popular PBS show, the new mobile Reading Rainbow is also hosted by the actor LaVar Burton, and is geared toward kids ages 3 to 9.
Though the app is free, the contents are subscription based for a monthly fee of $9.99 or $29.99 for a six-month recurring subscription. Similar to iBooks, the mobile Reading Rainbow includes multi-media, interactive books like travel adventure books, such as Animal Kingdom, My Friends, and Genius Academy.
The Reading Rainbow app tries to suggest books based on the child’s age and interests (for example, wizards & fairies, ocean adventures, animals, space & beyond). The library of books consist of both fiction and non-fiction, and the children can select to have books read them or they can read the pages themselves.
The Reading Rainbow books feature extras of audio, such as storytelling by professional actors including LeVar Burton, as well as light animations and activities to enhance the story. The app also includes “real-world video field trips” that connect the stories children read to the world they live in. Many of the videos are based on segments from the original Reading Rainbow.
Parents can also sign up to activate a free Parent Dashboard that provides updates about their child’s in-app activity, including the number of books their child has read and for how many minutes. As children complete books they earn reward stickers to create pictures on themed island backgrounds for each book they read.