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The Amazon Rapids App Lets Kids Read Stories Like Text Chats

No matter how hard you try to instill a love of reading in your child, the fact remains that not every 7-year-old wants to sit down with a copy of  The Old Man And The Sea (even if it’s illustrated). But some just don’t want to read at all. Amazon, the voice-activated robot warehouse that got its start selling books —  thinks they’ve figured out how to “make reading fun” for kids. That’s good news! But, it involves texting. That’s … probably not terrible?

Rapids is a monthly subscription-based app designed to get kids (ages 7 to 12) hooked on words … which eventually live on Kindles. It has a library full of illustrated short stories that your kids read, “like you would a chat on your phone.” Yes, the characters essentially talk to one another via text bubbles. Before you start shaking your cane telling Rapids to get off your lawn, think of it like a high-tech comic book. Still not convinced? Hey — they’re reading.

Amazon Rapids

The app is available for iOs/Android/Fire and even includes an integrated glossary to help Junior study up for that GRE in 15 years. New stories “designed to make kids laugh” are added monthly. The current library is already packed with hundreds of original, and soon-to-be favorites like Funny Bones, The Big Speech, Stop That, Steven! (sequel to No, David!?), and Virtual Agony.

And what’s better to encourage reading than having someone else do the reading? Rapids comes with an audiobook mode dubbed “Read To Me” where it reads the story aloud while kids follow along with the text. Sarcasm aside, it’ll at least point out how those bigger words are pronounced. And it’s also perfect for when they want to listen to something their mini Tesla Model S on longer cul-du-sac road trips.
Amazon Rapids ($2.99 per month)