Last year, Amazon launched Rapids, a chat fiction app that targets children from 5 to 12 years of age. Since most kids these days don’t read traditional, physical books, and since they learn to use technology almost before they can talk, chat reading apps like Rapids, Hooked and Yarn make sense. The apps offer hundreds of short stories that read just like text messages. When the reader taps the screen, a new ‘text’ appears, and that is how they get through the story – by tapping the screen for the next bit of dialogue. These apps are gaining in popularity lately, because the reader feels engaged in the story, as if he or she was part of the conversation.
In an effort to offer more original (and exclusive) content, Amazon is introducing ‘Signature Stories’. The app’s new feature will include stories that revolve around characters that kids probably already know from popular television shows such as Amazon’s own Danger and Eggs and Niko and the Sword of Light. Even cooler, the audio for these stories will be provided by well known voice talents like Saturday Night Live’s Aidy Bryant and SpongeBob Squarepants very own Tom Kenny.
Rapids also offers a ‘Parent Dashboard’, where parents can see what their kids are reading and how far along they are in any particular story, and an easy, kid-friendly glossary that will pop up with a single tap on any given word and show definitions and word pronunciation, making learning new words a breeze. The service is also affordable. Rapids offers two payment plans: $2.99 a month, or $29.99 a year. The plans renew automatically though, so make sure that you cancel your service if you do not wish to pay for an extra month (or year). Amazon is also offering a free 14 day trial, so you can see if it’s a hit with your kids or not, but again, make sure you cancel the trial period if you do not wish to pay for the service, as Amazon will automatically put you on a plan after 14 days and bill you accordingly.
Amazon’s chat fiction doesn’t have the kid of following that other chat fiction apps can boast about, but with original content and famed voice actors, that might very well change in the near future. I know I’ll be keeping my eyes peeled for new content that my kids might enjoy.