What we love…
Living words, questions and ideas to help engage the child in the story, theater mode
What we’d love to see…
Word highlighting as read, ability to label videos.
A gentle tale about noises that keep Caillou awake at bedtime, appropriate for children aged2-5. The story is enhanced with living words, interactions and a theatre where children can tell their own Caillou stories. It helps parents to involve their children in the story by providing questions to ask on every page, so they get the most from the reading experience.
iRead With is a new educational app series from Canadian app developer Tribal Nova, developers of the iLearn with series of educational apps. The first 2 books in the series feature Caillou the popular children’s television character. The books are designed to be used by parents with their preschooler to help prepare them to learn to read. They were developed with McGill University’s Child Phonology Lab and uses the Dialogic Reading method. Simply put this method encourages parents to interact with children when reading to them- prompting them with questions , expanding on their responses, re-iterating important information and encouraging them to re-tell the story.
This review is of the first book in the series “Caillou: What’s That Funny Noise?” There are 3 options : “Listen”- where the story is professionally narrated, “Read and Talk” – where the caregiver narrates and is given suggested questions at 3 different levels, and “Theater” where the child can use scenes and characters to re-tell the story.
For those unfamiliar with Caillou, he is a bald-headed preschooler who lives with his parents and younger sister Rosie and the family cat Gilbert. Caillou is the star of a series of books by author Christine L’Heureux and illustrator Hélène Desputeaux. His adventures center around everyday experiences and involve his family and friends. Caillou’s adventures were made into an animated television series in Canada and this has been a long running preschool show on PBS. When my children were younger they children loved to watch Caillou and listen to his stories being read.
In “What’s That Funny Noise?” it’s bedtime for Caillou, but he is having a hard time getting to sleep. He hears a funny scratching noise and see shadows on his bed. Scared, he calls his mommy who reassures him and explains where the shadows are coming from. Caillou still can’t sleep and is frightened there may be a monster in his room. His daddy comes in next to reassure him and settle him in bed. Finally after several visits from mom and dad the identity of the “monster” is revealed and Caillou can relax and go to sleep.
Throughout the text are scattered “living words” these are bigger and in color to make them easily identifiable. If you press and hold the word you can record your child saying the word, and you will hear their recording whenever you touch that word in future. Touching living words triggers an animation related to the word, both in the picture and by the word itself. For instance touching”mommy” makes Caillou’s mommy kiss him, and hearts appear around her and the word mommy; whereas touching “shadows” makes shadows appear and disappear in the room and makes a shadow appear from the word shadows.
At the bottom of each page are a parent and a child icons, these can be customized in settings. Beside the parent icon suggestions appear for questions to ask the child, tapping the child icon shows hints on how to answer the question. There are 3 different reading levels for the story- the story is basically the same, but in level 1 there are less living words and fewer simpler questions. Level 2 adds more living words and more questions, in level 3 the questions become more complex and involve more story comprehension and the child no longer gets hints.
The app was originally released without narration, but this has now been added. I understand why it was released without narration as the dialogic reading method is designed to be a 2-way interaction between the child and caregiver, which can’t happen when they are just listening to the narration. Although it is nice to be able to also listen to the story independently, I would encourage parents to also take time to fully utilize the app’s features by reading the story to the child and asking questions and interacting with them. The professional narration is well-done, it does not have word highlighting as it is read, it would be nice to see this added in a future update.
In Theater mode the child can choose from a variety of backgrounds in and around Caillou’s home. As the child explores the story they can unlock puppets (people and objects) to use in the theater. Once they have chosen their actors and props the child can record their own short video- moving the puppets around the scene and recording their own dialog and sound effects. The videos are stored for future viewing. It would be nice to be able to give the videos a name so that if the child, or siblings, record more than one video with the same background it is easy to tell them apart.
Caillou stories are perfect for toddlers and pre-school aged children, they are bright and colorful, tell stories of everyday events the children can easily relate to, and are calm and gentle tales. Getting children actively engaged with books from an early age, and getting them thinking and talking about what has been read is very important. It helps them to develop a good vocabulary and lays a foundation for skills they will need in their school years. I think this series is a very useful reminder of the importance of making reading with your child a 2-way communication, and it actively encourages parents to interact with their children when reading. Many parents already do this, but for those who don’t, or who need some more practice in developing questions, it provides a useful framework for developing this skill. The “living words” are a nice feature too, as the interactivity associated with them – from recording the word, and the animations it triggers, help children to associate the written and spoken word with its meaning. I like the inclusion of the theater mode too as it encourages children to use their imagination and tell their own stories. Highly recommended for children aged 2-5 years.
Caillou: What’s That Funny Noise? – i Read With learning method for preschool kids – Tribal Nova
Requirements: Compatible with
Size: 0 MB
Caillou: What’s That Funny Noise? – i Read With learning method for preschool kids – Tribal Nova
Requirements: Compatible with
Size: 0 MB
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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.
Into the World of White
Imagine a world without colour, where the sky, the trees and the grass are all as white as cotton. It’s a beautifully strange world where eggs fall from the sky to be looked after by two funny little men in knitted bobble-hats. Welcome to the world of White, Catherine Wheels Theatre Company’s smash-hit show for children aged two to four, currently touring to Beverley Hills, California from their home base in Scotland.
The show has now inspired the world’s first theatrical app for very young children, created by Hippotrix, an app developer based in East Lothian Scotland in partnership with Catherine Wheels. The iOS app takes babies and toddlers inside the performance to catch and care for the eggs, and enjoy a riotous party.
Creator of White, Andy Manley, said: “The production has been an amazing success, and has toured all over the world. But we thought an app would be a great way to sprinkle a little bit of White’s magic even more widely, so kids who can’t get to see a live performance can still take part.”
Hippotrix Producer Simone Bloomfield noted: “It was vital for us to preserve the award-winning designs for the show, along with Andy’s terrific story, so the objects in our app are the actual set and props. We really wanted to help children explore themes like friendship and caring so there are no bouncy cartoon characters – instead, children can recreate their favourite moments from White, and maybe take them further.”
Creating a mobile and tablet product for the very young was not without its challenges. Researcher Ben Fletcher-Watson explained: “We analysed the interactions used in a number of Early Years products to find the optimum set-up for very young children. For example, there are no complex tasks that require delicate motor skills, like pinching or multi-finger swipe. Too many apps don’t consider the needs of their users carefully, and we wanted to ensure that the very youngest children could still get the most out of the experience.”
Hippotrix will be releasing more children’s theatre apps in the coming months. White The App can be found in Apple’s App Store, and is free while the show is on in Hollywood at the Wallis Theatre until the end of March.
White – Inspired by the theatre production – Hippotrix
White: The App - by Catherine Wheels & Hippotrix
Category: Games, Educational, Family, Entertainment
Requirements: Compatible with iPhone4-iPhone4, iPad2Wifi-iPad2Wifi, iPad23G-iPad23G, iPhone4S-iPhone4S, iPadThirdGen-iPadThirdGen, iPadThirdGen4G-iPadThirdGen4G, iPhone5-iPhone5, iPodTouchFifthGen-iPodTouchFifthGen, iPadFourthGen-iPadFourthGen, iPadFourthGen4G-iPadFourthGen4G, iPadMini-iPadMini, iPadMini4G-iPadMini4G, iPhone5c-iPhone5c, iPhone5s-iPhone5s, iPadAir-iPadAir, iPadAirCellular-iPadAirCellular, iPadMiniRetina-iPadMiniRetina, iPadMiniRetinaCellular-iPadMiniRetinaCellular, iPhone6-iPhone6, iPhone6Plus-iPhone6Plus, iPadAir2-iPadAir2, iPadAir2Cellular-iPadAir2Cellular, iPadMini3-iPadMini3, iPadMini3Cellular-iPadMini3Cellular, iPodTouchSixthGen-iPodTouchSixthGen, iPhone6s-iPhone6s, iPhone6sPlus-iPhone6sPlus, iPadMini4-iPadMini4, iPadMini4Cellular-iPadMini4Cellular, iPadPro-iPadPro, iPadProCellular-iPadProCellular, iPadPro97-iPadPro97, iPadPro97Cellular-iPadPro97Cellular, iPhoneSE-iPhoneSE, iPhone7-iPhone7, iPhone7Plus-iPhone7Plus, iPad611-iPad611, iPad612-iPad612, iPad71-iPad71, iPad72-iPad72, iPad73-iPad73, iPad74-iPad74
Size: 74.7 MB
Today’s interview is with Sonja Winkle of SulaWorks. Please visit their website, and Facebook and pages.
Thank you for participating our interview. Please tell us a little about yourself.
We are the founders of SulaWorks and the parents of two small kids, from Munich in Bavaria, Germany. Our company SulaWorks is still a toddler itself, as we founded it just recently. Our company’s aim is to design and develop children apps with new stories that combine joyful activities with educational elements.
How did the idea for your app come about?
Our almost three year old son wants us to tell him stories all the time: right after waking up, or while going to bed, even outside while we are taking a walk. One day he got bored of the old stories and we had to make something up. This was the point where “The gorgeous bike” was born.
And how long was the process from the original idea to the release of the app?
The first steps of the process were quite fast: we had the story, the idea converting it into a kid´s app happened rather by coincidence…but the next steps such as writing down the concept, developing and launching the app took us round about half a year.
Did you hire a developer or do it yourself?
We did have to hire an external developer, as we are more the creative and the financial parts of the operation.
What has been the hardest obstacle you have had to overcome in the development process?
The hardest obstacle in the development process was to keep our son away from the iPad, as he always wanted to “quality test” The gorgeous bike…sure! We did not even have many new versions to test!
Have you had much support during the development process (from family, peers, Apple Inc.)?
Our whole family, friends and even colleagues supported us so much – during all ups and downs. We really appreciate all the help that was given to us.
What are your plans for the future? Will you be developing any more apps?
We do have plenty of ideas and would love to stay in the app business and develop more apps.
We are very confident that high quality kid´s apps support our children during the process of growing up, as the new media will be a big part in their lives.
What sort of feedback has your app been receiving so far?
Of course family and friends love it. But also well known review sites and many other people encouraged us to go on and wished us luck with “The gorgeous bike”.
And finally, what advice would you give to anyone considering creating their own app?
As long as you are convinced of your own idea and you try your best you will be successful. Never give up!
Thank you so much for talking with us today and sharing a bit about your company. We really appreciated the chance to get to know you!
The gorgeous bike – Sonja Winkle
The gorgeous bike - interactive storybook for kids about professions, colors and friendship
by Sonja Winkle
Category: Books, Education
Requirements: Compatible with iPhone3GS-iPhone-3GS, iPadWifi-iPadWifi, iPad3G-iPad3G, iPodTouchThirdGen-iPodTouchThirdGen, iPhone4-iPhone4, iPodTouchFourthGen-iPodTouchFourthGen, iPad2Wifi-iPad2Wifi, iPad23G-iPad23G, iPhone4S-iPhone4S, iPadThirdGen-iPadThirdGen, iPadThirdGen4G-iPadThirdGen4G, iPhone5-iPhone5, iPodTouchFifthGen-iPodTouchFifthGen, iPadFourthGen-iPadFourthGen, iPadFourthGen4G-iPadFourthGen4G, iPadMini-iPadMini, iPadMini4G-iPadMini4G, iPhone5c-iPhone5c, iPhone5s-iPhone5s, iPadAir-iPadAir, iPadAirCellular-iPadAirCellular, iPadMiniRetina-iPadMiniRetina, iPadMiniRetinaCellular-iPadMiniRetinaCellular, iPhone6-iPhone6, iPhone6Plus-iPhone6Plus, iPadAir2-iPadAir2, iPadAir2Cellular-iPadAir2Cellular, iPadMini3-iPadMini3, iPadMini3Cellular-iPadMini3Cellular, iPodTouchSixthGen-iPodTouchSixthGen, iPhone6s-iPhone6s, iPhone6sPlus-iPhone6sPlus, iPadMini4-iPadMini4, iPadMini4Cellular-iPadMini4Cellular, iPadPro-iPadPro, iPadProCellular-iPadProCellular, iPadPro97-iPadPro97, iPadPro97Cellular-iPadPro97Cellular, iPhoneSE-iPhoneSE, iPhone7-iPhone7, iPhone7Plus-iPhone7Plus, iPad611-iPad611, iPad612-iPad612, iPad71-iPad71, iPad72-iPad72, iPad73-iPad73, iPad74-iPad74
Size: 80.84 MB
Decode Global is a developer with a mission, they aim to create fun, entertaining apps that also teach about important global issues. Their first app Get Water! is a fun,addictive, endless runner app that stars Maya a young girl who keeps getting pulled out of school to collect clean drinking water for her family. Saturday March 22nd has been declared World Water Day 2014 by the United Nations and to celebrate and raise awareness Decode Global has made Get Water! FREE from March 21st-24th, then it will revert to paid. The app contains no adverts, in-app purchases or social media links. It is available for iOS and Android.
Get Water! is an endless runner app that is challenging, yet intuitive to learn. The aim of the game is for Maya to collect as much clean water as possible, avoiding collecting dirty water. There is a tutorial in the app that shows the basic gameplay. To control where Maya runs you draw a line under her feet, drawing a longer line lets her go higher and stay in the air longer. Maya collects water in the jar on her head by running and jumping through raindrops. If she runs through dirty water (red drops) she loses water, and there are special objects for her to collect such as jerry cans and mangos that will give her more water. Each time you play thee are new challenges and meeting them gives Maya more water. Collecting water isn’t all plain sailing however, there are Peacocks, Flying Turtles and Monkeys that get in Maya’s way and break her pot. As the player progresses through the game they can unlock upgrades-skills and supplies that help Maya collect more water, purify and protect the water she has.
Get Water! is a fun and addictive game, but it also helps to educate the player about the importance of clean drinking water and the effect it has on daily lives of those in third world countries. Between games the players are given simple facts about water usage and availability and as they play the game they unlock Maya’s story. Maya’s story is told as a series of short, wordless, animated videos showing Maya being taken out of school to collect water for her family, and how things like the simple availability of a water pump can mean she gets to spend more time in school and less collecting water. The developer has partnered with charity: water in this app and it includes an information about their work and a % of the app revenue goes to them.
This is a really fun, simple yet addicting endless runner app with a message. The controls are easy to use, but the app is still challenging and has new skills to unlock and challenges to meet. Players will enjoy playing, but at the same time become more aware of the importance of easy access to clean drinking water, and how it effects not only the health but also the education of young girls like Maya. The developer recommends it for ages 9-11 but it will I believe appeal to a much larger age range from early elementary school right up to adult. I would highly recommend downloading it today!
Free lesson plans for teachers are available here.
Get Water! – Decode Global
Requirements: Compatible with
Size: 0 MB
NOTE: A fee was received to feature this app.