Reading Rainbow Education App Review (iOS, Free)


Languages: English

Seller: RRKidz, Inc.

- Now supports retina display for new iPad Air/Mini
- Squashed out some bugs

Customer Ratings

Current Version:
120 Ratings
All Versions:
841 Ratings


• Chart topping reading, literacy and book app from the most trusted names in education, Reading Rainbow and LeVar Burton
• Over 3 million books read and video field trips viewed in less than a year! More added every week.
• 5 Star review from Common Sense Media "We've never before seen as diverse a library offered up
• Mom’s Choice Award, Gold Honoree
• PC Magazine’s Top 100 Favorite Apps and Editor’s Choice Award
• Best iPad Apps for Kids (For Dummies Series) by USA TODAY Kids Tech and Common Sense Media writer Jinny Gudmundsen

An on-the-go library of quality books and video field trips for children ages 3 to 9.

Hosted by LeVar Burton, this unlimited reading service offers a trusted library of books customized to your child’s interests, plus exciting video field trips to visit fascinating people and places. New books and videos are added every week expanding the collection.

Children travel to themed islands, such as Animal Kingdom, National Geographic Kids, Awesome People and Genius Academy, discovering quality books from numerous acclaimed publishers. Each book comes alive with audio storytelling by celebrity actors, including spoken word Grammy winner Burton himself, and features light animations and activities to enhance the story. Great for bedtime stories, our books can be read to the child or they can read it themselves.

Similar to the Reading Rainbow television series, children journey with Burton on exciting video field trips. These in-app segments connect the stories your children read to the world they live in and use a combination of newly produced video as well as classic segments from the TV show.

Plus, the service is always expanding and features new books and video field trips added every week. More themed islands are always “coming soon” featuring content from renowned children’s publishers and brands.

Up to five children in a family can use the service at no additional cost. Each child will have their own customized reading experience including a personalized digital backpack, reading list, and individualized tracking so parents can see books selected and minutes read for each of their children.

The app is free to try and a subscription service is available offering unlimited access to the library for just $9.99 a month or a valued price of $29.99 for six months (less than $5 per month).

Key Features
• Over 300 books and 50 video field trips
• New books and videos added every week
• Easy discovery of books based on your child’s age and interests
• Accounts for up to five children in family, at no additional cost
• Read to Me or Read on my Own options
• Downloaded books can be read offline, in the car, on planes, in restaurants
• Delightful interactive activities in every book
• Reward program to motivate reading
• Parent dashboard to share a child’s reading progress

How the Reading Rainbow App Works
• All app users may select up to 5 books and view introductory videos for free.
• To subscribe and receive unlimited access to the library, choose either a monthly recurring subscription for $9.99 or a six-month recurring subscription for $29.99.
• Your subscription is for your iTunes account and can be used on additional iPads you own.
• Payments will be charged to your account at confirmation of purchase.
• Your subscription will auto-renew unless auto-renewal is canceled at least 24 hours before the end of the current period. You may turn off auto-renewal at any time from your iTunes account settings.
• Subscriptions cannot be cancelled during the active subscription period.

Customer Reviews

  • Good app

    by nicroremi

    This one is very good for children.

  • Wonderful

    by Science Girl 123

    So much easier and cheaper then buying iPad books one at a time. My 7 yr old daughter is on it daily.

  • Love!!!

    by KerryML28

    My daughter is struggling with reading. We found this app and she loves it! Great interaction and holds her attention. She loves picking what she wants to read and it's in her age group. THANK YOU SO MUCH Reading Rainbow team! Kerry

  • Really good app but they need to put more books

    by Bookworm family in Miami (305)

    I really love this app. I have purchased the 6mo. Membership. Up to now everything is great!The only thing is that they should put more new books because my son reads a lot and we r running out of a selection. Thank you

  • Very cool

    by bonvipe

    The all is a lot of fun and the kids love it!!!

  • Positive screen time

    by mjmontagne

    My three year old daughter and I love reading books together on this app. We are constantly visiting the different islands and getting new books. We've read nearly forty books in the three weeks since purchasing the six month subscription. The pace at which the narrators read is nice and slow, which is what you want for pre and early readers. My only knock, and it is a minor one, is that I wish the sticker option could be turned off. Stickers might be a source of motivation to read for some children, but I find it a source of distraction for a child who intrinsically enjoys reading. One other positive is that the interactivity isn't over the top like you see in some literature apps-I find the interactivity yo be minimalist and in no way a distraction. I. can't wait to see how Levar and company develop this app over time. This is an excellent app overall! But don't take my word for it :)

  • Chelsea

    by Chelsealam

    I love the reading

  • R.R.R

    by Prefferedanth

    Reading Rainbow Rocks!!! Even my POOCHIE likes to read the awesome books that comes with this app!!

  • Pricey but fantastic

    by Muttiblus

    Firstly, yes; it is a pricey app. If people would thoroughly READ the material provided in the App Store, this would be no surprise. And last I checked, $30 for 6 months comes to $60/year - not as one disgruntled reviewer quoted as $120/year. If you cannot save an additional $20 to purchase an app, perhaps you shouldn't buy it? If one kid reads AT LEAST 15 books within 6 months, the app is a deal. Secondly, the quality of the material is very nice, e.g., artwork, stories, read along qualities, etc. I have other cheaper story apps which have dull, poorly narrated stories for the original app price, only to sell more interesting stories for ~ $2/story. The quality of the material, e.g., interactive stories, read alongs that highlight and nice quality narration, are available for a relatively nominal price. If your kid enjoys reading and would spend time using the app, I'd definitely recommend.

  • Totally satisfied

    by jle_1

    Our four-year-old spends hours choosing books and having them read to her, and we read to her in this app as well. There’s good variety of quality choices here, and they seem to be adding titles regularly. Don’t hesitate.

  • Love reading rainbow

    by Tats1

    I absolutely love this app and so glad to see reading rainbow is still around! The imagery, games and easy navigation is wonderful. My only complaint is the price of the subscription. I won't be subscribing any time soon but if you can afford the 6mth price at 29.99 it's well worth it!!!

  • Best Educational App

    by elcabrera

    The app is so wonderful. My 3 1/2 figured out right away how to return and check out new books. I absolutely love this app and believe it's worth the cost if you get the $29.99 deal. Endless, books and great video adventures. Can't say enough about it!

  • Please update

    by EngTeacherMom

    I've loved this app since I bought it about 2 years ago. However, recently it's been very glitchy. It takes forever for the books I've already got in my child's backpack to load, much less the books in the library! If I'm paying this much for my subscription, I expect it to work. It has been working beautifully until now. Please fix this ASAP. We love Reading Rainbow!

  • Reading Rainbow

    by BigPoppaDupa

    My son loves this app when it works which, unfortunately, is only about 50% of the time. When trying to read the books in his backpack it takes a long time for them to open, if they do at all. Quite often they simply freeze up and we have to close down the app manually.

  • Very good, but...

    by Pattyshake

    Love this app. Two suggestions: videos would benefit greatly w/ closed captioning (for kids, parents, ALL visitors to understand LeVon's great info!) Also, on the same idea, as the words are being read/heard, they could be highlighted in a different color so that the reader sees each individual word as it's said, rather than just seeing the whole paragraph or sentence. Otherwise perfect.

  • CountryRaven

    by CountryRaven

    The Reading Rainbow app requires a subscription. I buy the six month subscription for about 5 bucks a month. It does feel steep, but I've had the app since early in its release and I have really appreciated the service for my five-year old. They have expanded it greatly over time. The partnership with National Geographic for Kids was an especially great addition. There is a wide array of both fiction and non-fiction books. These are real books by popular authors, not rehashed public domain stories. Kids can have the books read to them, or can read them on their own. There are simple, interactive animations in many of the books. There are also short videos to stream from Reading Rainbow episodes. My five-year old is a fan. While I still prefer putting real books in my kids hands, Reading Rainbow is a traveling library that is great for trips away, car rides, and those nights when I need a little help through the three-book bed-time routine. It is also great when I see him open the app on his own and browse the library to choose his own books and videos. Kids do earn stickers for reading books. My kid loves the stickers, but I feel this part of the app is pretty poorly implemented and does not utilize the medium creatively enough. In the end, though, it isn't about the stickers, it is about reading and learning.

  • Best Reading App!

    by Kennyrocks5

    Best Reading App. I love Reading Rainbow!!

  • Great for Holiday Time

    by Huddy Bolly and the Chickens

    Both of my nieces love this app! We used it right before Halloween to get in the trick-or-treating spirit. I grew up a huge fan of the show and am so excited that I can share that same enthusiasm with a new generation. I'm guessing my iPad will be getting plenty of use over the next few months with the kids around me 24/7!

  • Bringing back the memories

    by Tim McFarlan

    I remember watching RR when I was a kid and how much I enjoyed all the stories. Now that I'm a parent I'm glad that RR will be here will all the adventure, fun, and learning for my kids. Thank you LaVar!

  • Thank you!

    by RileyBeck87

    I just subscibed to this for my kids and wow, what a great app! I wish I'd found this sooner. I can't believe people are complaining about the price. These are REAL books you'd find in the bookstore, not just re-hashed public domain stories. I grew up with reading rainbow and I'm so happy they're still around so I can share it with my kids.

  • Total scam

    by myjenny2008

    You basically can't do anything until you "subscribe". 9.99 per month (????!!!) OR 29.99 for six months!!!! Don't fall for it! It's a shame because it looks like a great app if there was just an initial payment and have full access.

  • Don’t be SCAMMED

    by emschumacher

    Dear Fellow Parents please be very careful when considering this app. I was super excited after we downloaded it and had chosen our five books. We decided to purchase the six month subscription only to find it didn’t work. My first step was to call iTunes to troubleshoot thinking my iPad was having issues. They worked with me and decided it was a developer issue. Their advise was to contact the app administrators. The only way I could find to do this was by email, which I did. I waited 48 hours with no response. I emailed a few more times and after no answer decided to start looking for a phone number. On their website it lists an address. After some research I found that this address is not an office building, but rather a single level building full of PO Boxes the “suite 209” they refer to in their address is actually their PO Box number. At this point I called Apple again. After an hour on the phone they agreed that there is NO PHONE NUMBER for this company and that it is suspicious. They, of course were amazing, and returned my money. They also advised I come and leave a review for this app. So, BEWARE EVEN APPLE SUPPORT SAYS IT IS SHADY THAT THIS COMPANY HAS UNREACHABLE CUSTOMER SERVICE.

  • Doesn't work half the time

    by Yei145

    Paid for it but always freezes contacted them and said it's my ipad but I never have problems with it. The reading lvl is also below what advertise. It's to easy for a 8 year old no chapter books.

  • unhappy/sad

    by Kimaine

    Im disappointed in this app because my son loves this game and i have to let hum hold my iPad because apple don’t allow you to download this app on an iPod. i would like for the next update to allow people to download this app on iPad’s and iPod’s.. this will make me real happy. especially my son as well.

  • Bummer

    by Ashton0411

    I am teacher and my students and I love Reading Rainbow so I was super excited to find out that there was an app to go with this wonderful PBS program. But then I used it... It's a great app it's just hard to justify $10 a month for an app that won't let you have more than 5 books at a time. If the price was lower I'd give it more stars but as it is this is not a 10 dollar app. Even the 6th month discount still seems high. I think I'll stick to the old PBS episodes.

  • Why cannot post

    by Frustratedpppp


  • Really?

    by Bigumpike

    This is a little ridiculous, in this technology era you should be aloud to return the books that you have chosen. The library allows it come on. I don't want to have a 10 dollar monthly fee for some electronic book. You are just upsetting the children with this app.

  • I love reading rainbow but...

    by MisiATL

    I'm glad I didn't pay for a subscription I'm unable to download any content. I left items downloading over night and still don't have them. Maybe a ploy to get subscription but I won't subscribe to anything that doesn't work properly.

  • Keetokat

    by Keetokat

    I love reading rainbow, but the price for the subscription is beyond ridiculous!!

  • Poor Experience

    by JavaQueen4Ever

    Downloaded app fine and was able to check out books but, when I tapped on a book to read it, it disappeared. Very frustrating!

  • Great during homework time

    by Amberorduna

    My daughter is in K and I let her do this while my older boys do homework and it's great. I feel like she's doing something to stimulate her brain instead of rot it on media. She loves the books and I did pay for the subscription and it's worth it! Thanks reading rainbow for coming alive for the next generation!!

  • Pricing unreasonable

    by L. A. Banks fan

    I loved watching reading rainbow as a kid and was excited about this app. The imagery is great, actually everything is great except the price. I was going to get the subscription until I found out it is $9.99 a month! Even if you buy the discounted 6 month subscription at $29.99 that still equates to $5 a month. I would pay no more than $1.99 a month seeing as how other reading apps are in the same price range. RR was a PBS program, you'd think the price would be more reasonable. I refuse to spend $120 a year for books especially since my daughter wouldn't use this app enough to warrant that price tag.

  • Not Happy

    by Shy1206

    My little girl loves books, but getting to the library is often very difficult. I downloaded the Reading Rainbow app and fell in love instantly. The imaging is beautiful, the stories are vast. So imagine my disappointment when I learned we were not allowed to "keep" more than five books or "return" any of the books unless we had a subscription. How much is the subscription? $9.99 a MONTH! So if you download this app thinking that you can get by with just the five books, be very diligent and selective about which ones you download. In fact, don't make the mistake of letting your child pick them out if they can't actually read yet, because then you'll be stuck with books your kiddo doesn't actually like and you can't return them.

  • 2 gripes

    by oops exchange option

    I love the RR app. My kids have enjoyed it to the fullest, making it a worthwhile purchase. The only flaws I've found are two #1 some books appear in several islands. I found this annoying because if they appear in more than one island it's using up space that another great choice of reading a book could occupy. #2 my kids keep track of there reading minuets daily. I thought it would help myself as we'll as any other people who track minuets daily if the minuets in progress would appear by the day. Not just # of minuets total.

  • Great app

    by Regcmdr

    Happy my kid will get enjoy reading rainbow. I loved this show as a little guy. The app really brings all the best qualities of the show to your iPad. It's a great app, but you don't have to take my word for it. Give it a try for yourself :-)

  • Mom

    by Tiah W

    This app is definitely worth buying. My 6 year old is reading so many books and learning so much. The added features keep it interesting. I love it!

  • A children's library in your fingertips...

    by LVMom23

    My girls love this app and so do I. I grew up watching Reading Rainbow on PBS and quickly purchased a 6 month subscription but will be renewing it always. My girls choose their books and have it read to them, even my one year old enjoys it. There are non-fiction books and fiction books. You can't look up a specific book to read, but you can scroll through the available books they have every month. There are so many, so they are never bored. Some books are even read by Levar Burton himself, a real treat. Video clips from the Reading Rainbow show can be viewed as well. Overall, an excellent app to foster literacy in children.

  • Awesome

    by Kim00k

    Great I have seen yet....

  • Best reading app!!

    by Txgril

    LOVE this app! Reading Rainbow is a beautifully designed, easy to use app. It's like having an entire library at your fingertips. My little ones (ages 8 & 7) love reading on Reading Rainbow. Thank you!

  • Love it!!!!!

    by 94059904

    First App that I've paid for and totally worth $30. I have two children, my daughter spends hours a day with books and couldn't be any happier. My son on the other hand, a min for him is a torturous hour. He is totally hooked and today alone has been through eight books! Yay!!! Couldn't be any happier with this App!

  • Over all, I like it and so does my son

    by Keleeh1

    I like the variety of books and the interface works well. My only pet peeve is that there is no way to turn off or hide the video content or turn off the the animations in the books. My son is distracted by both. I want him to listen to the stories not touch things on the page and watch them move. The videos are short and I know they are part of how reading rainbow works but they have become the focus

  • Lovin it!!!

    by thomaa72

    This app is great! My daughter has been hooked since I got it! I really enjoy the variety of books and the animation within each book. I have a reader on my hands! Thanks Levar and RR kidz team. I'm looking forward to future enhancements.

  • Subscription Recognition

    by Koch Brother

    Very frustrating that I can't access the full functionality of this app after paying for it. In the App Store it says I'm good but not in the actuall app. Please fix this yesterday.

  • Great books!

    by Meemki

    We just wish there was more!

  • High Quality

    by Ryan_Terry

    This is a well made app with quality content. I think the subscription model is totally worth the price. Well done! One negative is that there aren't any high-res (retina) graphics. Everything looks pixelated on new iPads.


    by Melonsie

    I LOVE that the books available offline! Great for traveling and keeping the little ones entertained while also TEACHING them! Fantastic!

  • The BEST

    by offroadmeg

    This is seriously the best app ever. I love it. My daughter already knew how to read great. She's in 1st but reads at 3rd grade level. But this has made her want to find and read her own books. Not just the ones that are picked out for her. And Levar Burton is a big part of the app. It also has little videos.

  • Great app for nostalgia

    by Sgt Kyser Sosa

    I remember reading rainbow as a child. Enjoy reading books with my child. I subscribed after the trial package. Well worth it

  • I like Reading Rainbow.

    by Sweaters Mary

    I think the Reading Rainbow app is nice. I like it and think it's great that you can get more than five books. I've read many books and watched many of it videos. I like them both. It makes me want to read more! And I have tons of of books! (Elenore, age 7)

  • Love this!

    by :)&@@(/

    My 4 year loves to read and this app keeps my from having to go to the bookstore or library every day. He gets so excited when he learns that there are new books in his backpack that he'll forego dessert after dinner to go read stories!

  • Childhood memories to share with my kids

    by RR does it again,

    I leaped with joy and didn't second guess subscribing for my kids! I can remember in elementary school waiting for reading rainbow day to roll out the TV in the classroom and watch it :) my kids have already enjoyed it and they like that it's customized to their likes and personality. The savings for the 6 months was very motivating and a added bonus to my decision to buy! Yall hit it out of the ball park ,thanks reading rainbow you've done it again!

  • Fantastic, but limited for now

    by Taylor2002

    The app itself it great. It holds true to the TV program I remember as a kid. I would just ask for more books and for more field trip videos. My children have read through most books available. Also it's rather annoying to have to go back to each child's profile to switch out "what they like" just to view different books. I would assume that children like more than 3 things and want to read about more than 3, I know my children did. In all, I'm glad we subscribed for the six months, it's quite a significant savings cover the monthly fee. And as my young readers get more comfortable with reading, they can listen to the books first and then go back later and read them to me. I'm sure more books will be added in the future and my children will continue to enjoy the app.

  • Not working in iOS7

    by Joeyrv77

    The app is not working after the new iOS 7 update. It gets stuck at the welcome screen. I hope there's a bug fix for this soon - the kids are waiting :)

  • Great app

    by mada2009

    I love it and my 5 years old really enjoy it reading , great great app

  • Upgrade didn't work

    by Abe Nader

    I finally decided to become a member but the app doesn't see the upgrade. So frustrating! I hope this all gets figured out!

  • Reading Rainbow

    by Ariels00

    We all enjoyed watching Reading Rainbow when our children were young. It' will one day be our granddaughter's turn. She's too young now to understand but having this available is priceless!

  • Teacher

    by MommaBearPlus3

    My kindergarten students love this app. I wish there was a way to search the description field to be able to find books that match the current reading theme I am using in my classroom.

  • I love this app but.....

    by ska_rlett

    I wish books were categorized by reading levels. My daughter is 6 reading at level U and it would be great to get books at her reading level followed by a few questions for reading comprehension, although I ask her questions myself. Aside from that great app, I grew up watching RR and its great to now share it with my child.

  • More diverse profile character

    by jetimani

    Love this app. My 10 and 6 year old use it quite often. But, as a parent, I would like to see more ethnicities represented for the boy or girl character when creating the profile. Or allow for a personnel picture to be used, instead.

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