Amazon Launches "Rapids" - A Reading App For Children

Posted: Nov 2 2016, 8:21am CDT | by , in Technology News


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Amazon Launches "Rapids" - a Reading App for Children
Credit: Amazon

Parents always struggle to get their children to put down their phones or tablets and read a book instead. However, many studies have found that the two don't have to be competing factors anymore.

Amazon announced that they are launching a new app and subscription service called Rapids. It is designed to get children to read for pleasure in genres that actually excite them, like adventure, fantasy, humor, mystery, science fiction and sports. All of the stories are told in the style of chat sessions.

These short stories come with accompanying illustrations that unfold as the characters chat back and forth. An example is an alien texting back and forth with an unsuspecting child about invading Earth.

Each session is personalized by the reader. When he or she is ready to read the next message, they can simply click and it will appear. If there is a word that is too difficult, a definition is just a click away. These words will then be added to a glossary so that the child can look it up later.

The stories can also be read aloud so that kids can just follow along as well.

“We know that many kids already enjoy chatting with friends and family on their devices,” said Michael Robinson, director of consumer products for Amazon Education, in an interview. “Embracing this, we wanted to see what authors and illustrators could create with an app that made it easy to tell stories that way.”

Amazon says that there will be hundreds of stories to start, with many more added each month. The stories will be for children between the ages of 7 and 12, but it can go beyond that eventually. Parents will be able to test out the service free for two weeks and then get a discounted introductory rate of $2.99 per month.

Rapids stories will not be automatically included in the FreeTime Unlimited services as of yet. Rapids was built by Amazon Education in collaboration with the Kindle team. It is available on Android, iOS and Amazon Fire devices.

Amazon's Robinson enjoyed the program after testing it on his children:

“It’s worked exactly in the way that I want it to,” he said. “If there’s no book in the car and they really want to read, my daughter can just grab my phone, read a Rapids story and she’s read one or two by the time we reach the destination.”

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<a href="/latest_stories/all/all/46" rel="author">Noel Diem</a>
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