Oh those were the days. Do you remember back to elementary school and every Friday morning the teacher would pass out the Weekly Reader. It was your very own copy of a newspaper with interesting stories, puzzles and games just for kids. I’m pretty sure in the back of my mind it was the Weekly Reader that inspired me to go into newspaper in middle and high school and then set me off on a journalistic career spanning over 20 years.
Well Weekly Reader suffered a similar fate to many of the nation’s best newspapers. Online digital content that let you absorb today’s news at your own leisure on your own device, rendered print newspapers nearly obsolete. In schools, new innovations (then) like Channel One, quickly grabbed up what little attention young students had for the Weekly Reader.
The news is not dead though, and kids still matter.
News-O-Matic is the first daily iPad newspaper specifically for kids. It’s supercharged with content that appeals to grade school students. The professional editorial team has a wealth of journalism in their collective backgrounds but the content is delivered in a manner that makes kids active participants, not talking down to kids like other media has in the past.
Press4Kids, the company behind News-O-Matic came around in 2012, consequently the same year that Weekly Reader ran off it’s last issue. The company is led by Russell Kahn an award winning author of educational books. Gillian Stern, the company’s graphic designer insures that every story has eye-popping images for kids so even if they aren’t necessarily interested in the content, they still read it because of the pictures, kind of the way Weekly Reader did.
News-O-Matic produces 5 new stories a day that cover world news, arts, science, sports and even wacky stories. That should give kids a good 15-20 minutes of independent reading per day.
When the kids need a break from just reading, News-O-Matic features a mix of games geared towards their readers. Gone are the days of pencils and crowssword puzzles, the games are designed with the same high quality that the daily news articles are given.
Press4Kids has made two News-O-Matic apps, the first one can be downloaded by any parent for their kid and the other one has companion materials and features that can be used in the classroom.