Unfortunately, I have kids who do NOT love to read. It is kind of sad, but true. My husband and I did all the things we were supposed to do. We started reading to our kids as babies, limited TV, and still read bedtime stories today. My son is a slow reader so he found books a bit overwhelming. My daughter has a reading disability so books have always been a challenge for her. Luckily, online reading tools like the BookBoard app have brought the FUN back into reading in my household. You can try BookBoard FREE by signing up for a trial account. Give it a try and let me know what you think. But, I digress… back to my review…
When you first sign up for BookBoard, you can set up different profiles for each of your children. Each child gets their own login button to open their personal library. You can choose age groupings up to age 12 so that books are presented according to your child’s age or reading level. Since my daughter has reading challenges, I set her library at a lower age. Since she is not aware of this setting, it does not impact her confidence. This works MUCH better than feeling like she is going to the “baby” section at the library.
The more the kids read, the more books they get to unlock. My daughter LOVES this feature. She will sometimes read an extra book just to get to unlock another. This would NEVER happen at our local library. She is motivated by anything that provides her with a reward for doing good work. Since reading is a challenge for her, getting rewarded with even more books to choose from has been a great inspiration for her to keep reading.
So far, we love the story choices. The humorous stories are the ones that my daughter likes the best. My son likes the non-fiction choices since he loves to learn about practically anything in real life. Believe it or not, my daughter could read a story called “Booger Boy” over and over again. Repetitious reading is also a great tool for her learning disability. We don’t need to worry about library due dates or purchasing too many books for her already cluttered room. Don’t get me wrong, I like paper books too, but with picky readers, it’s great to have a wide variety of books to choose from all in one place.
One of BookBoard’s principles is that “Books Aren’t Broken.” What this means is that the app limits the interactive element to focus on the reading experience. Too many “reading” apps have so many bells and whistles to distract the child from reading. The get caught up clicking on characters and playing games between books. This app is just about reading, which is something I really like. In the paid subscription model, there are also audio books. These really come in handy for my daughter where it is helpful to hear a book once or twice before attempting to read it herself. My only criticism here is that I’d like to see words highlighted as the audio moves along with the story. This helps with word recognition for my daughter.
All-in-all, I highly recommend BoardBook. The free version has a lot to offer. There are also subscription plans as outlined below.
What we like about BookBoard
- Provides a free trial so you can try before you buy.
- No Ads! Not even for the trial version. Yippee!
- Offers over 400 book titles (in the full library).
- Each child’s library contains books according to their age.
- The app encourages reading by offering a reward of unlocking new books.
- Clean layout that is easy to use and understand.
- A few Audio books in the trial version would be nice.
- Audio books that include highlighted text (perhaps a function that could be turned on or off)
Currently, you’ll need an iPad with iOS 5.x or higher. BookBoard recommends an iPad 2 or later — original iPads do work, but may be too slow for super readers. They will be adding support for other devices and platforms in the the future, so stay tuned!