Smartphone App Uses Text Message Stories To Get Kids ‘Hooked’ On Reading

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Getting kids to read over the summer can be a bit of a struggle. Some kids would much rather text their friends than pick up a book.

But now, there’s a way they can do both.

19-year-old Mikey Sean McGuigan says the first time he heard about the app “Hooked,” he was sold.

“The name really represents — it really wraps it all up,” he tells CBS News’ Kenneth Craig. “It hooks you into the story.”

That’s because the app allows users to read fast paced short stories right on their smartphones, and in the form of text messages between two people.

“Because you’re actually going through these texts and it’s almost as if you were texting and he’s running away from a killer or something,” Mikey said.

Since its release three years ago, the rise in popularity of chat fiction apps like Hooked has led published authors like Kayla Parent to take a leap into the new format.

“The biggest challenge was coming up with a story that kind of fit the parameters of this style of writing,” Parent said.

Millions of users have read her first Hooked story — a thriller that took Parent a fraction of the time to write compared to her novels.

Hooked has topped Apple’s app store three times, and more than 20 million people have downloaded the free app.

Users also have the option to subscribe for a fee and unlimited reading.

“It almost feels as if you’re actually going through what the characters are going through,” Mikey said.

Mikey also reads Tap — one of a handful of other chat-fiction apps geared towards millennials.

He says while he’s hooked on the new style, he has no plans to stop reading good old fashioned books.

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