WHAT should Your Child Read
(And Why it Matters)
By Ari Fertel
Founder & President
Reading Buddy Software
I remember as a child, most of what we read in school was soooooooo boring. It’s hard enough to learn to
read, but what I was being asked to read was killing my interest in learning the skill altogether.
The same thing is happening today. Many schools, tutors, and reading programs fail to choose good
content. The result is that the child’s progress suffers.
People think that content is irrelevant, that as long as it’s age appropriate, children will learn to
read regardless. That’s only partly true. The fact is that content has a big impact on the child’s
experience reading and on the pace of their development.
If the content is dull, it’s hard for the child to focus and they won’t be motivated to read.
If, on the other hand, the content is engaging, it’s easier to focus and the child will want to read.
These issues of focus and motivation directly impact your child’s progress, and therefore, in a very
practical way, content matters!
Of course, the content has to be age appropriate and reading-level appropriate. That’s obvious and easy.
Pretty much everyone gets that right. In my opinion though, that’s far from the definition of
good content. That just gets you in the game. To win, the content has to be truly engaging.
The more captivating the content, the faster your child will develop reading competency.
Now I want to temper my point. It’s important that children also learn to read content that doesn’t
excite them. This is an important skill.
I wasn’t excited about reading the instructions on the absentee ballot, but if I wanted my vote to count
I had to get through it.
Certainly, in order to succeed academically, a child must be able to read a variety of content, including
the boring kind.
But, for the most part, what your child reads should be riveting.
When I was developing Reading Buddy Software, I took this very seriously. Most reviewers don’t care so
much about content in the way I’m describing, as long as it’s age and level appropriate. So it
would have been easy to get away with using mediocre content.
I refused to do that.
Instead, I spent over a year searching for just the right content for every reading level. And in the
end, a lot of the articles and stories I wrote myself.
The result is that kids enjoy using Reading Buddy Software. They know they’re going to read something
interesting. They know they’re going to learn something that’s meaningful to them. And
this one is big; they know they’re going to learn something that helps them feel smart around other
Let me give you some examples.
What’s the body’s biggest organ?
Children who use Reading Buddy Software know the answer to that question.
It’s not the brain, the liver, or the lungs; it’s your skin!
And did you know that skin is not only on your body, it’s all over your house!
That’s right. A lot of the dust in your home is dead skin.
If your child read an article like that today, what do you think would happen? Wouldn’t they come
to you and say, “Guess what I read today”?
How great would that be? Your child coming to you excited about what they read.
Here’s another one.
Did you know that you can go snow skiing in the summer? Yup, it’s true. There’s an indoor ski resort in
Dubai. And kids who use Reading Buddy know where Dubai is (quick geography lesson) and they’ve seen a
picture of the resort, which they think is very cool.
Sorry, I can’t resist, I have to share with you one more.
Who invented baseball?
If you’re like most people, you answered…Abner Doubleday.
But if you were a child using Reading Buddy, you would know that Abner Doubleday did not invent baseball.
And you’d also be able to tell the story about how that myth came to be.
The bottom line is that content matters. What your child reads will affect how much your child values
reading. And practically speaking, that makes a big difference as to whether or not and how quickly your
If you use Reading Buddy Software, you’re all set with hundreds of stories that your child will think are