Getting kids to read amidst distractions like TV and the internet can be tough. But a new app from Bellevue, Wash.-based BookWhiz Media lets parents set up rewards for reading, and helps kids keep track of books, too.
BookWhiz, a free iPad app, presents a virtual bookshelf of all the physical books in your house and lets you set up rewards for reading for each of your children. Rewards can be whatever you want, from a toy car to choosing what to have for dinner.
The process starts by importing all your books into the virtual library. The process is pretty simple thanks to integration with Amazon’s book barcode API. Just scan the ISBN barcode that’s printed on nearly every book and its front cover, title, author and other info is brought right into the app. Kids can add it to their own individual library, and it’s also added to the family library.
When it’s time for reading, the child chooses which book their reading, then starts the timer. When they’re done, they stop the timer and can enter how many pages they read. Each time they finish a book, they earn points, which can then be spent on the custom rewards.
On the parents’ end, there are controls for setting up different rewards for each child and a notifications screen documenting all your children’s reading habits. For younger kids, this screen can be especially helpful so you can engage that child about the book after it’s done.
The app is meant for elementary school-aged kids (5–11) and, according to founder Andra Davidson, was created to help get them into reading at a young age. “Reading is core to childhood development and learning,” Davidson said. “But parents realize it’s becoming increasingly difficult to get their kids to choose a book over all the other distractions.”
Download BookWhiz for iPad here.