Boys Only Reading Comprehension by Reinvent Recess Digital is a universal app for iOS that features 15 chapters or passages for kids to read and then take a short test on to determine if they comprehended what they read. The multi-user app has topics which range from sports, to science and history with both fiction and non-fiction choices. Upon opening the app and adding the admin and first user, the child can pick ten chapters to read which will be sent to their scorecard. Users are tested on a summary of the text, identifying items in sequence via timeline of events (first, second, third), finding an unknown word, problem/solution.
Getting my son to understand what he is reading has always been a challenge for me. He loves anything sports related so when I had him test the app he picked out all of the sports related chapters along with a few others. I then had him sit down and read a story to see what he did. He used an iPad for reading the story and doing the questions. One of the first comments he made was that the stories were “real” and that he could actually identify with some of them. As he carefully read the passages – he got better at this as time went on he started getting more of the questions right. As part of his daily homework, my son can read for 15 minutes and then have a discussion about what he has read. We used the app multiple times for him to read and then take the test to demonstrate what he learned. After completing the passage, you are given real time feedback on any answers that were right or wrong and if they were wrong what the correct answer was. Using a timeline was one of the most challenging things for my son, because although he remembered the events in the story at times it was hard for him to sequence them. Using the app definitely helped him with that as well as helping him to really take the time to understand what he was reading. At times when he struggled we also worked on having him tell me the story then going back to answer the questions.
As a mom, I really liked that the app encouraged my son to read and comprehend what he was reading. I also liked that the questions were multiple choice so my son could pick from a field of correct answers similar to tests he takes at school. The topics were very relevant and interesting to him especially the sports related ones – and had him wanting to use the app for homework — which I call a huge win! I also liked that some passages were shorter or longer – this helped me with having my son pick and choose which one to complete based on the time we had available. Currently longer passages are marked with a * so you know ahead of time they are longer. I also liked that my son could go back to the passage to verify what he had read before submitting the answers to the questions. This gave him a “double check” that helped him feel more confident in his answers. I also really liked that the scorecard was emailed to me so we could identify areas that we might need to focus more on – and I could share it with his teacher to demonstrate that he was doing reading homework nightly.
In terms of improvements, I would like to see more than 15 chapters or passages contained within the app. At this point, my son has used it quite a bit and has “memorized” some of the stories since we have done them over and over again. I would like to see some additional passages so we could use it on a more routine basis for reading homework.
Overall, this is a great reading app that has a lot of potential for kids who may struggle with reading. For my son one of the biggest challenges to reading is finding a topic that he likes along with being able to understand it. He is now able to do both with this app!