Ruckus Reader gives parents feedback on their child’s reading progress; content tied to Common Core standards
By Michelle Lee
New platform Ruckus Reader aims to provide young children with a safe, interactive environment for exploring digital books with their parents, who can track their child’s reading experience through weekly reports.
The app, released today by Ruckus Media Group, features a virtual bookcase that will hold an expanding library of iReaders (interactive digital storybooks), eReaders (electronic books) and vidReaders (narrated video books), all geared for children in pre-Kindergarten to second grade.
Currently the collection includes more than 15 iReaders, featuring popular characters from My Little Pony, Transformers, Sea World, Crayola, and Chuck and Friends, with 20 new titles to be added each month. More than 15 ebooks are on the platform, including Curious George—Ruckus has partnered with Houghton Mifflin to add the classic title, and more publisher agreements will be announced in the coming months, according to Ruckus.
What makes the Ruckus Reader special is the interactive digital books were designed to engage children with learning activities that enhance the stories, says Deborah Sloan, a public relations/marketing consultant for Ruckus Media Group.
The program’s “Reader Meter” emails a progress report to parents and caregivers about the child’s word recognition skills, reading comprehension, and the amount of time spent on each book. The meter also provides education tips and recommends other books the child might like to read.
The Reader app is downloadable for free at the App Store, along with the first book in the series and a tryout sample of the other books, says Sloan. The membership fee is $24.99 for six months.
Ruckus Media Group CEO Rick Richter says the genesis of Ruckus Reader came from his own experience teaching his then fifth-grade son how to read through his interest in Garfield comics.
“Engagement is what it’s really all about in reading, he says. “Any great reading teacher will tell you that. So, our goal was to duplicate that reading experience with many different brands with each brand appealing to a different kind of kid.”
More stories will be added monthly with the goal of 100 titles over the course of six months, says Sloan. The library will include books featuring The Wiggles, Cyberchase, Dino Dan and Veggie Tales, and the premium program includes Curious George and other titles.
The Ruckus Reader was developed to align with the Common Core state standards with assistance from educational advisors Elliot Soloway, an engineering professor from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor; Cathie Norris, Regents professor of learning technologies at the University of North Texas, and Alison Bryant of Playscience.
Soloway, who specializes in educational software, says Ruckus Reader’s interactive stories are exciting because it challenges childrens’ intellect.”There are word games, there are story games, there are drawing games and memory games all embedded inside the story. The goal is for the game to propel the story, not be gratuitous,” he says.