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This perennial children’s favorite offers some great read-aloud options, putting it a cut above most ebooks for young children. Curious George is lovable, as always, and the app encourages many early reading and language skills.
- Three reading levels included
- Tips for reading aloud with kids
- Professional narration
- Good explanation of dialogic reading
- Voice recording
Curious George Goes Camping by iRead With is a high-quality ebook specially designed for young children. The app is perfect for independent play, but it also does a good job of encouraging the parent-child interaction which is so vital for reading success. All of the features work well, and the app is very reliable. The app includes three types of activities: a read-to-me option, a parent-child interaction activity and a creative stage for self-expression. It also offers parents a high degree of control with options to add your own voice recordings, change the reading level, and more.
This app makes a great showcase for creative use of the power of the iPad. Each page contains “living words” that are highlighted, and when touched, the words animate into a key picture. For example, the word “tent” grows into a picture of a tent. Parents can record their own voices reading these living words, too. Each page has one or more hidden animations for the young reader to explore, and developers did a fine job of creating animations that mesh well with the story. Best of all, the text is available at three levels of difficulty. Just pick the level that’s right for your child, and feel free to switch back and forth, or even to discuss the differences children find among the levels.
What puts this app a cut above most other ebooks made for young children, though, is the support it gives to parents for encouraging vital language and early reading skills. In addition to the usual narrated storybook, parents have the opportunity to explore the “read and talk” section with their child. This version of the ebook includes prompts in the form of questions to ask the child and hints about the correct answers to encourage language development. Furthermore, the designers have included a lengthy list of hints for parents to use to further these important skills in many different ways. Add a personal touch by recording your voice (or your child’s voice!) to narrate the Living Words.
The Theater section offers scenes from several pages of the book with stickers your child can add while telling his or her own story about Curious George or camping or just about anything else. Many of the figures include appropriate sound effects. This activity also includes a recording feature. Many children tell their stories as they create their visual, so it’s possible to record the narration on the spot. The iPad records the screen and the narration, creating a movie on the spot featuring you and your child!
Curious George Goes Camping by iRead With almost has an unfair advantage in the entertainment category. Curious George books have been favorites for generations of children, and this app will be no different. In addition, it has all of the features that make interactive ebooks so appealing to children-narration, interactivity, and related activities to explore. It’s very refreshing that the animations on each page are well-connected to the text instead of looking like afterthoughts, and it’s nice that most pages only have two interactions. Sometimes it can be easy to overwhelm children and take their focus off of actually reading or listening to the story.
This app is a great value. Not only is it a rendition of a favorite book and character, but it also includes a wealth of tools to help parents help young children with readiness, language and reading skills. The techniques and strategies that are discussed and encouraged in this app are very useful for more conventional books or other ebooks, so the app is teaching valuable skills to adults as well as children.
This app contains no in-app purchases or links to social media. There is a protected parents’ area that includes a emailed newsletter subscription, contact form, and links to the developers’ website. Another protected link on the home page leads to an opportunity to purchase a different app by the same developer. While it is good that these areas are protected from young users, the protection scheme may not be as effective as it could be. The instructions inform adults that a button must be held for three seconds to gain access, but a graphic that fills during that time may encourage young children to watch the animation even if they have no intention of getting into the parents’ areas. Also, the options section of this app, which includes the recording feature as well as settings for sounds, reading level and language, is unprotected. A child could record over the parent’s recordings, and one who was bent on mischief could record inappropriately.
Curious George Goes Camping by iRead With offers a comprehensive experience for young readers and their parents and will build countless early skills.