American book-apps company Ruckus has unveiled its new big thing – Ruckus Reader – along with a swathe of new apps that tie into it. They include new book-apps for big kids’ brands like My Little Pony, Transformers and Crayola.
The idea behind Ruckus Reader is book-apps for kids that also give their parents feedback on the children’s progress – a weekly ‘Reader Meter’ email and a website ‘dashboard’ to keep tabs on how they’re doing.
“We are trying to make sense of all the options available to children in a digital age and strive to understand when screen time is delivering real educational value,” says Ruckus boss Rick Richter in the announcement of Ruckus Reader.
Things being tested include phonics and word recognition, print awareness, fluency, alphabetic knowledge, sequencing and story comprehension, according to the announcement.
We’ve been eyeing up three of the most high-profile examples, which all came out today alongside the news. They’re all iPad-only apps, starting with My Little Pony: Ruckus Reader.
Aimed at 5-7 year-olds, it involves a haunted campsite, building in a word hunt, hidden-picture game, a maze and a make-your-own sticker section.
Transformers: Ruckus Reader focuses on all things Autobot and Decepticon, as the rival robots battle it out in a canyon. Its interactive features are similar to the My Little Pony app: word hunt, catching falling objects, spotting what’s wrong with pictures, mazes and a make-your-own-story page.
Finally, Crayola: Ruckus Reader is for 5-6 year-olds, with a story based around zoo animals getting togged up to have their photos taken. There’s similar interactivity, as well as choosing the items they wear and – naturally, given that this is Crayola – colouring them in.
All three book-apps are free to download, although the Crayola app has an in-app purchase for ‘Find That Dragon’ (we think – the title is cut off in the App Store).
This is just a smattering of the Ruckus Reader apps: there are also ones for Chuck & Friends, Rabbit Ears and Seaworld, as well as a Ruckus Classic Bookshelf app that has a bunch of picture-books available within it.
We’ll be giving these apps a proper test and reporting back, so watch this space. In the meantime, here’s an introductory video showing how it all works: