Review by Monica Encarnacion, Common Sense Education | Updated December 2016
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Log readings with free, but stripped-down, app

Subjects & skills
  • English Language Arts

Grades This grade range is a recommendation by Common Sense Education and not the developer/publisher.
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Pros: Easily scan in books with your device's camera; useful tracking of reading at home and in school.

Cons: Mostly focuses on managing reading vs. learning, plus uneven performance and warped images need fixing.

Bottom Line: Simple app for creating and managing reading logs is a good first effort but could come alive with a greater focus on supporting learning.

Readocity can be useful to teachers looking to make school-to-home connections around reading. By creating a digital reading log, teachers can reel in parents and make it easier for them to stay up to date on what's happening in the classroom. Teachers can assign a digital reading log as homework and encourage parents to participate. To maximize potential learning opportunities, teachers should take full advantage of the space provided for teacher comment when logging in a book read at school -- add questions and reading prompts to foster discussions around books at home. In addition, teachers should remember to ask parents to log books kids are reading at home (which is easy with the built-in bar code scanner). Teachers may even want to encourage younger kids to scan their own books, empowering them to take ownership of their reading logs.

Worth mentioning is Readocity's paid book-subscription service, which allows teachers or parents to get Readocity-curated books delivered to their doorstep. It may be worth a try if you're looking to get your hands on tailored book selections like those recommended in the Readocity app.

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Readocity is a digital reading log focused on building connections between school and home. It allows teachers to log reading that students do in the classroom, while parents can log reading done at home. Teachers simply share a reader ID with parents, who use it to log into the app at home. Once parents are logged in, they can view classroom reading and communicate with teachers via messages right within the app.

One big distinction for Readocity is its age-specific book recommendations, curated by Readocity's staff. Once a book recommendation is selected, users can view the book's details such as storyline, author, and possible reviews. Recommended books can be added to a current reading log or to a wish list for future reading. It's even possible to locate a recommended book on Amazon or at a local public library via toolbar options at the top of the screen. If a book isn't on the Readocity list, you can scan it in using the book's bar code or manually entering an ISBN number. There's also an option for entering a book title manually; however, this feature is still to come as of this review. Finally, while there's an option to update an existing reading, clicking on it creates an entirely new one instead.

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Readocity's main focus is on helping teachers and parents collaboratively track kids' reading and better recommend books. In this way, it's mainly a reading-management tool vs. a learning platform, although kids could get involved in building the reading log. However, younger kids will need to be supported and encouraged by teachers and parents. Older kids can log their own reading and could benefit from checking out book recommendations. Older kids may also enjoy tracking their progress by consulting the line graph displayed in the Books Read at School section.

Ultimately, Readocity's potential for learning is dependent on teachers using it strategically and providing parents with prompts and/or comments to spark discussions around books. Offering more to support effective, critical reading, as well as student-facing features or a student-facing experience, would make Readocity much more indispensable. Without this explicit learning support, Readocity leaves a lot up to effective use and is hard to recommend when there are so many e-reader competitors out there.

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Overall Rating

Engagement Is the product stimulating, entertaining, and engrossing? Will kids want to return?

It's targeted at teachers and parents, so the reading experience itself isn't that engaging; however, students might get excited about scanning bar codes to add their own books to a digital reading log.

Pedagogy Is learning content seamlessly baked-in, and do kids build conceptual understanding? Is the product adaptable and empowering? Will skills transfer?

It helps teachers, parents, and students track reading, but besides teacher-prompted conversations to have at home about reading students are doing in class, there's not a ton of added learning support.

Support Does the product take into account learners of varying abilities, skill levels, and learning styles? Does it address both struggling and advanced students?

Line graphs show daily and weekly reading trends at home, making it easier to track reading. Amazon and public library links help locate recommended books.

Common Sense Reviewer
Monica Encarnacion School support staff

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