How I Use It
I use Reading Rainbow with my pre-reading 3 year old son. With the free app, users get one free book each month, more books can be purchased at any time.
What works: The learner can choose whether they would like to read the text or have the text read aloud to them by a recorded human reader. My son is learning how to follow along with the reader. He recognizes and can respond to the reader's cadence which provides a subtle queue to turn the digital page. He knows what section is being read thanks to a gentle alteration of the active text. The app provides a few animations and interactives to keep all learners engaged.
The bad: Nothing really except for the large file downloads that accompanies all apps with video and audio embedded content. However, it is noteworthy that Reading Rainbow does offer in-app purchases. Educators should be alert to this fact and consider disabling in-app purchases in the "settings" app.
I think Reading Rainbow is a great choice for early learners, pre-readers, and reluctant readers. I think that's always been the magic of Reading Rainbow and, honestly, it's no surprise that the app brings the same enjoyment of reading that you and I remember from the show. I greatly enjoy the adventure and discovery that comes with a good book. I'm no reading expert but I do find that some kids have a difficult time enjoying their reading because they struggle to decode the text. Sometimes we all need a little motivation... And I think that is the niche of Reading Rainbow. The app provides scaffolding for early and struggling readers and really great graphics and interactives that all will enjoy.
As far as classroom use, I think the Reading Rainbow app would work really well in a learning center. You may also consider pairing the app with Apple TV for a high-tech read aloud session. :)