Art for “Light of Mine” (c) 2012 by Christopher Lyles
What we love…
fantastic app that encourages parents and caregivers to read with children featuring a library of curated stories, conversation starters and bright colorful artwork. I loved that we were able to carry over and do activities after learning about them during our daily lives like stomping, slipping, sliding and being more observant
What we’d love to see…
parental lock of some sort on the cog wheel – there are no external links but my son liked to tap on it. I would also like to see a bigger parent’s resource section included – there are a number of resources on the web but not integrated within the app.
Beautifully illustrated app that encourages active reading via the story by asking questions, making observations and learning. Kids can also tie it to real life and role play the stories.
ReadAskChat is a curated library of stories designed for children from six months to age 4. The stories feature bright artwork, text and parental cues to help parents read with their children. I still remember the first time I sat in the rocker with my then infant son and held a black and white board book to read with him. I felt unprepared, because I wasn’t sure how I was supposed to read with him or help him learn. You can read our interview with co-founders Alice and Carolyn to learn more about the reasons on why ReadAskChat was created. You can also read a paper about the science behind ReadAskChat. This app takes it beyond your device or tablet and encourages interactive reading using conversation starters to help kids engage and learn. Key concepts in the app include rhyming, patterning, early academics like colors, shapes, early sight words along with math and science concepts.
As I have gotten to be a mom of two – reading with my kids has gotten easier. They both know when it’s bedtime – we have 15-30 minutes depending on the day that we sit, snuggle and look at books. We practice things like how to hold the book, turning pages from front to back as well as moving with the text via songs, pointing to objects and just handling a book. In this digital age, it’s also important to consider that books are available on tablets, smartphones and other devices meaning that downtime doesn’t just have to mean that your child “plays” on your phone — you can turn it into educational time.
Here’s a snippet from Carolyn about the idea behind ReadAskChat
The inspiration for ReadAskChat comes from personal experience. My husband and I are adoptive parents, and when our daughter Jiji came home at 9 months, she was clinically failure to thrive. She couldn’t hold her little head up or babble, or reach for shiny objects—things that 9-month-olds should be doing. But after only one month of reading picture books, singing songs, playing and snuggling, and “chatting” about anything and everything, Jiji was a fully caught up and happy 10-month-old.
When we read using my tablet or smartphone – one of the first things I do is to turn on the “night shift mode” which changes colors to be more easy on your eyes and less stimulating for children. I also love that the app can change depending on which child I am reading with – meaning I can choose prompts for my toddler or my older son while reading the same story. When you open the app, there are three free stories that are included in the library. Additional stories are available for purchase. Each story includes “conversation starters” – these are based on the developmental level of your child and can range from suggesting you bounce your baby in time with the rhythm of the story or music to questions you can ask your kids to prompt them to engage more with the story.
Using your device, you login to the app to access the library. For purposes of the review I was given access to the full library of stories. When you use the app for the first time on your device or a new device you are prompted to download the stories. The Starter Pack includes, “Light of Mine”, “Animal Tails” and “The Old Man in the Tree”. In the subscription based version other stories are categorized by Big Ideas, Special Friends, Indoor Mischief, On The Move, Action Rhymes, Math Stories, Science Stories. You also choose the developmental level for the conversation starters. They range from baby (six to 18 months); toddler (12-24 months); preschooler (2 -4 years). As we have gotten more familiar with the stories we have recently changed from toddler to preschooler level to help him continue to follow along and be engaged.
“Mario’s Trucks” illustrated by Hyewon Yum
My toddler aged son loves anything to do with cars and trucks and things that go. We typically let him pick a story and then I choose one. One of his favorites is Mario’s Trucks – which includes descriptive text like “Raise that Shovel! Dig that hole”. I typically read to him and then we talk about what we see in the photo – things like a yellow dump truck, a hard hat that Mario is wearing, a yellow digger and blocks and a crane. The conversation starters also encourage parents to add the sounds to the story and then the “ask” which encourages kids to think about what the truck does – my toddler answered carries and dumps. You are also prompted as you read to chat about what Mario might be building – my son said “tower”. We talked about it being a construction site on the first page. I also loved using the app to guide off-device play where we re-enacted specific stories that my son identified with. The illustrations in the app are beautiful and encourage kids to look and pay attention to details. The stories appeal to children and are not too overwhelming in terms of new information that is shared on a page. They also gently encourage sleep or relaxation at the end. At the end of the story you can either slide to the next story or close out of the app.
I loved the wide variety of content that was included in the app and that my son was engaged and learning from stories – which we could look at no matter where we were at a point in time. I actually found myself reading more with my son because I could pull out my iPhone or tablet while we were waiting for appointments or had short periods of downtime. He loved tapping on the screen to show me what he was seeing – and I liked hearing what he saw in the photos and engaged. Both of us became more engaged with stories – rather than him sitting in my lap passively to hear a story. In addition, I recently read to my son’s classroom and used ReadAskChat along with a software which was able to reflect my screen onto a whiteboard so that the group of kids could participate. Although the app is designed for more 1:1 or 1:2 use it was fun to use in a class because it encouraged open ended conversations and allowed kids to really engage with the story. As kids get bigger you can encourage them to help swipe and actively pick out sight words, look at the images within the stories and pick out specific details or even find an object or color within the image. With my son as we read the stories and he’s become more familiar – we now sometimes play “I spy” to see the details that we might have previously missed. One of the other things that I really enjoyed was the conversation starters to help me encourage my son to better engage with the story. Another feature I liked was the “swipe lock” which made it so my son couldn’t accidentally move forward beyond pages that I wanted him to be on. The app also lets you favorite stories using a heart at the bottom – my son quickly learned about this and we picked out his favorites and then we were able to scan for the hearts when picking a bedtime story. I also really liked the descriptive words used within the app to tell a story which tied to the picture. Words like “slip and glide” for my son were new – so we actually practiced them by sliding our feet on the rug.
In terms of enhancements – I would love to see a section for parents to understand more about reading with their children as well as the importance. I found a number of resources on the website for Readaskchat – but they were not referenced when we used the app. It would also be nice if the cog wheel at the top were parental gated – there are no external links but my son recognized this from other apps and wanted to touch it.
Overall, this is an app that is unique in that it actively encourages parents to teach their children while reading. My son loved sitting on my lap and engaging – rather than passively listening to a story. Since then I’ve noticed that when we read board books or bedtime stories he looks at the picture and we read and talk about them more – for example, find the green wall or white bunny rather than just reading the text as a more rote method of learning.
Pricing: Launch sale through December 25, 2017: Only $14.99 for the full library for one year.
LAUNCH SALE through December 25, 2017
$14.99/year (which comes to $1.25/month)
AFTER DECEMBER 25
$29.99/year (which comes to $2.50/month)
**Subscribers receive a new story pack (3 selections) bimonthly in 2018.
Note: Bulk rates are available for institutions.
NOTE: This app has in-app purchases
ReadAskChat for Children 0-4
by Read, Ask, Chat, Ltd.
This beautifully illustrated library includes on-demand guidance for parents in reading interactively—the tried-and-true way to foster school readiness and love of learning. Subscribers receive new .
NOTE: A fee was received to expedite this review to the top of our waiting list but this payment has not influenced the objectivity of the review and all opinions have been offered honestly.
Want to win a copy? Simply enter using our Rafflecopter widget below. Must have an iTunes account and download a free copy of ReadAskChat. Open worldwide to everyone.
beautiful illustrations and engaging story with different story points chosen by the reader
What we’d love to see…
font in one consistent color and easier to read, currently it’s small in size
Remove this text and add your own here.
The Voyages of Aladdin and Sinbad by BelMontis Publishers is an iPad only app featuring two characters Aladdin and Sinbad in a storybook for young readers (ages 6 – 11) with three translations in English, Spanish and Chinese. The story is about a magic lamp and how Aladdin and Sinbad are going to search for a magic lamp. The story pages are on parchment with a red background with pen and ink drawings and each page features an interactive element that engages the reader into the story. The words are highlighted as the are read and turn a slightly different color after they are read which makes them show up more clearly on the page. There is an option to have the words translated and they appear at the bottom of the page. There are choices that the reader can make which help direct the story and engage them further as well as exploring the app via a map. As each island visit is completed, the map is highlighted to show you where you had been on your adventures – and each time you open the app you can explore a different place. Each of the islands features an interactive element either a riddle, a book given or something else to help Aladdin on his journey to find the magic lamp. While Aladdin is away on his journey, the city has fallen into poverty and the story continues even after the lamp is found! After completing the journey you are invited to choose another island to explore and the story continues.
The app features:
interactive story elements
ability to choose your destination based on a map and learning about new places including Bubble Kingdom, Kingdom of Dreams, Upside Down Kingdom,The Mirror Door, The White Dome, Hose Shoe Island, Soo-Ven-Ir and many more
narration in English, Spanish and Chinese
beautiful pen and ink illustrations and hand drawn pages
narration to hear the story
original music throughout
I loved the illustrations and interactive elements on each page and this app kept my son engaged as he read the story with me and subsequently by himself. He enjoyed tapping on the treasure map and exploring each of the different paths the story could take to read it. I also liked the different areas that could be tapped on to learn more especially the fish bubble that contained an underwater kingdom. He enjoyed touching the screen and exploring inside the bubble and spent quite a bit of time studying the image. My son enjoyed hearing the story of the lamp, especially in the underwater kingdom as well as the gift that was given by the Sultan.
In terms of improvements, the font is problematic. It varies in color and style and can be difficult at times to read on the screen until it is read aloud. I would also like the option to have the translation read aloud – perhaps there is a way to have the words in English on the page, and then also read them in the translation. Currently, the translation is at the bottom of the page and requires you to “scroll” with your finger in order to read it, it’s smaller than the read aloud font on the screens.
This app provides engagement for kids, over and over again as they explore the paths that can be read. My son has opened and explored the app new fewer than six times to look at each of the islands and adventures. The narration and pen and ink drawings as well as the adventure portion draw kids in – even younger emerging readers and encourage them to engage and understand the story. With the beautiful illustrations, children can imagine what is said on the pages and tap on the interactive elements to move forward. It is best for children who are reading in some form and those who enjoy exploring on each page. There are no external links or in-app purchases.
Aladdin & Sinbad - The voyages
by BelMontis Publishers Pte. Ltd.
Price: $3.99 USD
*** Teachers with Apps: "Belmontis has a knack for continuing the tradition of a GREAT storytelling! Not to mention that the art alone is spectacular..." *** The iMums: "This app provides engagement.
NOTE: A fee was received to expedite this review to the top of our waiting list but this payment has not influenced the objectivity of the review and all opinions have been offered honestly.
With Halloween fast approaching, and pumpkins everywhere, there is nothing like a good book to get you in the right mood. Here are 10 of our favorite kids book apps to get children ready to celebrate Halloween.
It’s The Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown by Loud Crow. For Halloween nostalgia nothing beats the peanuts gang. Loud Crow have done a great job of bringing this Halloween Classic to life. It is presented as a pop-up book and you can read it yourself or have it narrated by Peter Robbins (the original Charlie Brown). It has animations, interactive elements and the original music and dialog. $5.99
Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown
by Loud Crow Interactive Inc.
Price: $4.99 USD
• #1 in Books & Entertainment • Featured in NY Times and TIME • Apple App of the Week and App of the Day
Oh, Great Pumpkin! Where are you? This Halloween, hang out with Charlie Brown.
Hotel Transylvania 2 Official Storybook App by Cupcake Digital
Hotel Transylvania 2 is the hot kids movie this Halloween and the official storybook app is a great way to prepare the kids before seeing the movie or relive it afterwards. the app features scenes and character voices from the movie and bonus coloring pages. iTunes link
Hotel Transylvania 2 Official Storybook App
by CUPCAKE DIGITAL INC.
Price: $2.99 USD
Winner of the Editor's Choice Award, Children's Technology Review (CTR).
CTR's Editor's Choice Awards are given to only the highest quality children’s products in the interactive media category.
The Witch With No Name by SlimCricket. A funny and very interactive tale about a witch who has lost her name, and is very grumpy as a result. Her Bat Battina decides to help her find her name, and together they go about collecting all the ingredients needed for a spell to find out her name. This app is very well done, fun, well narrated and the reader really gets to be part of the story with several interactive mini-games. $3.99
The Witch With No Name is an artful blend of story and games
*** Featured in the book "iPad Apps for Kids" (part of the "For Dummies" books series) ***
--------- *AppySmarts.com : (94.
The Bedsby Tales: Spooky Short Stories with Monsters, Myths, Ghosts and More!By Jacob Duane Johnson. This short interactive tale does a great job of setting a spooky scene with fantastic narration, music, sound effects and black and white illustrations. The first tale is free, other installments are expected later. Free
Trick or Treat – Little Critter by Oceanhouse Media. A perfect introduction to Halloween for 2-5 year olds. Little Critter is preparing for Halloween, and taking part in traditional Halloween activities with his family. $1.99
Trick or Treat - Little Critter
by Oceanhouse Media
Price: $0.99 USD
----- 50% OFF FOR A LIMITED TIME -----
Join Little Critter in this interactive storybook app as he gets ready for Halloween! Explore pictures, learn new vocabulary, and personalize the story with.
Haunted House ~ 3D Pop-Up Activity Book by StoryToys Entertainment Limited is not a story but rather a series of fun interactive activities presented as a 3-D pop-up book. It has eleven different 3-D scenes to explore with ghoulish games and creepy activities. The eerie background music and sound effects really set the scene. $1.99 (IAP for more stickers and jigsaws)
StoryToys Haunted House
by StoryToys Entertainment Limited
Price: $1.99 USD
As night falls in the spooky forest, monsters are stirring in the Haunted House. Do come in - if you DARE!
In this house, it's halloween all year round, so come meet the monsters, play games, .
Tilly Witch – by Auryn apps. This is a classic Halloween story based on the book published in 1969 by Don Freeman. Tilly is the Queen of Halloween, the meanest witch in all Witchdom. One day she is playing at being happy and it sticks – she can’t go back to being mean. But what does this mean for Halloween, who will scare the children?
What Was I Scared Of ? by Oceanhouse Media. In this classic Dr Seuss tale the hero meets “a pair of pale green pants with no-body inside them”, at first he convinces himself that he isn’t scared but the more often he seems them the more terrified he gets. A great story about overcoming your fears. $0.99
The Legend of Spookley the Square Pumpkin by Oceanhouse Media. Spookley is ostracised by the other pumpkins because of his odd shape, but as a storm sets in and rolls the round pumpkins uncontrollably across the pumpkin patch towards a raging river, Spookley saves the day. A charming, wholesome story about social acceptance which includes a very important message that it’s OK to be different. $2.99
Join Spookley the Square Pumpkin in this special tale of tolerance and self-acceptance that's just right for Halloween… or any time of the year! Explore pictures, learn new vocabulary, and personalize.
Who is The Ugliest Of All? by Joshua and Donna Wilson. In this quirky, interactive Halloween -themed tale the reader is a fly on the wall as a girl gets ready to go a party. As she chooses her outfit, applies makeup and adds some rather unusual accessories it seems she has really poor taste. But is there another reason for her unusual style and conviction that she will be the ugliest of all ?/
A true Dr. Seuss classic! Encourages pre-literacy and literacy skills
What we’d love to see…
The ability for a child to record their own voice.
I love this app. It is a great addition to the other Ocean Media books that I have. It represents the original book perfectly adding animation, activities and has a lot of educational possibilities.
Green Eggs and Ham, by Dr. Seuss, is another exceptional app by Oceanhouse Media. True to the style of other Oceanhouse Media apps, Green Eggs and Ham is an excellent app representation of the classic Dr. Seuss Book. The main character, Sam-I-Am tries his hardest to get Sam’s Friend to try Green Eggs and Ham. The children love how annoying Sam-I-Am is and how he perseveres in his attempt to get his friend to eat. Moral is clear and well received. The repetitive rhyming nature of the book is a great first step into phonemic awareness and literacy. There are 2 reading options: Read to Me, Read to Myself. As well, there is the option to tap on the words and the pictures to reveal vocabulary items. Once the story is started, the control panel allows you to return to home or to go to a specific page. There are 4 different settings that you can customize for your child by turning them on or off; Learning Activities, Music and Sound, News and Alerts and Picture Words. All can be reset after each play so that the book can be read and played with many times.
The app is extremely user friendly. Icons to return to home or to access parental section are blocked, but can be accessed by pulling down the book icon at the top of the page. Kids can easily go back to previous pages and redo the activities, if they have not been reset. One of the things that makes the “read and learn” style of book different than the other books from Oceanhouse Media is that kids are encouraged to engage with the story for learning rather than simply having the story read to them. There are vocabulary words and activities that encourage them to touch and learn rather than doing passive listening.
At the onset the child is given verbal and written directions on how to manipulate and navigate the pages. If the volume is off, you are directed to turn it back on. Each page has a hidden star, the children are directed to move the graphics around and find the star. I really like this idea since every time they touch an item on the page, the word pops up and the narrator says the word. Once the star is found, it is set to the bottom of the page. When the child wants, they tap on the star to reveal a different literacy style activity (spelling, phonemic awareness, rhyming). The feedback for correct and incorrect answers is subtle and not at all disturbing to the child. On certain pages, the kids are encouraged to shake, move or rotate the iPad to see different reactions to the different characters and items on the page. When the graphics are moved, the scene remains in its new position.
Narrations is clear and easily made to repeat. The characters have different voices and are pleasant listen to. Intonation varies to depict feeling and intent. I like this a lot, as with many special needs children learning to read, they don’t understand intonation in terms of comprehending the statement. Words can be highlighted for repetition, as can the whole paragraph on the page. The colors on the pages reflect the original books by Dr. Seuss. The pages are engaging and interactive. My preschoolers students listened, interacted and read by themselves for a long time.
I really liked the book as it is very true to the original text and is a true classic tale. I find that it encourages pre-literacy and literacy skills. The app encourages kids to engage with the story by having them find stars for activities. You have to touch and move objects on the page to find the stars which causes a written word to appear along with spoken narration. This encourages kids to participate and engage with the story while making it fun – especially for preschoolers!
I really enjoyed the app, and there is very little that I would change. I would like to see the ability to record your own voice for the text, but that’s it!
As a Speech Language Pathologist, I truly appreciate the style of Dr. Seuss’s writing and this book/app is another great educational tool. It encourages pre-literacy and emerging reading as well. It is a great addition to the other Ocean Media books that I have. It represents the original book perfectly adding animation, activities and has a lot of educational possibilities. It’s different than other Oceanhouse Media books in that it engages the reader to learn, rather than being a passive listener which causes children to learn without realizing it!
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