Blue Planet Tales – History, Nature & Science Children´s Bookshelf – Review



iPad Screenshot 1

What we love…

beautiful illustrations, testing reading comprehension of the book

What we’d love to see…

implementation of a parental gate to prevent accidental in-app purchases; ability to purchase all the content of the app with a one time in-app purchase

Summary

Overall, good app to learn about historical events.  This app requires parental supervision due to lack of a parental gate.

Our Rating

Blue Planet Tales – History, Nature & Science Children´s BookshelfBlue Planet Tales Interactive Storybooks is a bookshelf type app that allows you to purchase additional content for your iOS device and teach children about a variety of history, science and other concepts.  For purposes of this review we will be looking at Apollo 11, Men on the Moon.  There is also a free book that is included so you can try it before purchasing additional in-app content.  To read the purchased stories, simply tap on the library and the book will pop up.  There are three play options, autoplay, read it to me and I have read it. The books are available in English and Spanish.

I thought that the Apollo 11, Men on the Moon story was historically accurate.  In addition the graphics were fairly accurate, although the text did cover up the illustrations at times.  One of my favorite things about the app was that there are questions within the story that test reading comprehension such as: who was the first human in space. who was the first president to support space travel.  For each correct answer you are rewarded with a “all right”.    There is some limited interactivity within the app on each of the pages, such as the ability to put the astronauts on the space shuttle with the actual sounds of the countdown.  The app does reinforce learning within the story to ensure that people understand the story.

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In terms of improvements, this app needs a parental gate to ensure that content is not purchased in error.  Currently, you open a book either at the bottom of the screen or in the menu and it provides a direct iTunes link.  For this reason, I would suggest turning off the ability to do in-app purchases on your device.  I would also like to see word highlighting for emerging readers to help them more easily follow along.  I also found at times in the autoplay mode that the text on the page did not match the narrator especially if you touched the page forward button.  I would also like to see a one time in-app purchase that would unlock all the content of the app.

 

Note:  There does seem to be a bug in the iOS 8.0 version but if you upgrade to iOS 8.1.1 it solves the crashing and need to restore the stories within the app.

Overall, this app does have great content which touches on a variety of historical events.  The lack of a parental gate concerns me, however, the content does encourage learning among individuals both young and old.  The illustrations are well done and the story pulls you in to learn more about historical events.

 

BPT - Educational Storybooks for Children (Preschool & Primary)
BPT - Educational Storybooks for Children (Preschool & Primary)
by Blue Planet Productions SL

Category: Education, Books
Requirements: Compatible with iPad2Wifi-iPad2Wifi, iPad23G-iPad23G, iPadThirdGen-iPadThirdGen, iPadThirdGen4G-iPadThirdGen4G, iPadFourthGen-iPadFourthGen, iPadFourthGen4G-iPadFourthGen4G, iPadMini-iPadMini, iPadMini4G-iPadMini4G, iPadAir-iPadAir, iPadAirCellular-iPadAirCellular, iPadMiniRetina-iPadMiniRetina, iPadMiniRetinaCellular-iPadMiniRetinaCellular, iPadAir2-iPadAir2, iPadAir2Cellular-iPadAir2Cellular, iPadMini3-iPadMini3, iPadMini3Cellular-iPadMini3Cellular, iPadMini4-iPadMini4, iPadMini4Cellular-iPadMini4Cellular, iPadPro-iPadPro, iPadProCellular-iPadProCellular, iPadPro97-iPadPro97, iPadPro97Cellular-iPadPro97Cellular, iPad611-iPad611, iPad612-iPad612, iPad71-iPad71, iPad72-iPad72, iPad73-iPad73, iPad74-iPad74
Size: 23.44 MB

$FREE

Screenshots for iPad
(Click to enlarge)

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.

Alison, the American iMum is from Massachusetts. She lives there with her two sons and husband. In their spare time, they enjoy playing outside, enjoying nature and of course testing apps and fantastic products on their devices. My older son loves technology and loves testing out the “latest and newest” apps and tech. I love sharing information about apps and products with others to help them make decisions without feeling overwhelmed with all of the choices.



Rhyme to Read By Rhyme to Read, LLC – Review



iPad Screenshot 1

What we love…

builds upon itself via a series of books with the words reinforced from earlier books as you advance throughout the app

What we’d love to see…

interaction and testing of understanding for the word concepts.

Summary

Great app for a struggling or emerging reader that will help you as a parent work with your child on key early literacy skills

Our Rating

Rhyme to Read by Rhyme to Read, LLC is an iPad only app designed to help your preschooler through early elementary aged student learn skills that will help them learn to read.  The program which does include in-app purchases  to purchase up to twenty books individually or via a bundle if you choose to buy them all at once.  The app features word families with similar sounds (cat, sat, pat) and helps children to understand different reading patterns.  Children should be able to recognize letters and understand how sounds go together before beginning the reading process.  Each book builds upon the previous one, so if you enjoy using it you should buy the package via one in-app purchase rather than buying the volumes individually as they build upon each other.  The app was originally a set of print books by Sarah Hines and Lynn Klairman, the cost of the print books was too expensive to maintain so they decided to turn them into an interactive app to help reach a wider audience. The books teach a variety of sight words and practice the previously learned sight word patterns as they progress within the series.  At the end of each “book” you can see a list of sight words listed in the program thus far (which gets longer with each book) and then a list of word families that have been learned.

iPad Screenshot 2

Rhyme to Read’s books are phonetical and teach word families which means that children learn patterning of words rather than sounding out each individual letter.  For example, “at” is turned into “Pat”, “Cat”, “Rat” with just the first letter of the word changing. Each set of words is also color coded to help your children learn and remember word families “at” for example is blue and then as you advance within the app, new word families come up in new colors but the color for each stays consistent throughout the app.

I liked that each book built upon the previous one and focused on word families so the learning was carried throughout the app.  The illustrations were simple but helped to get the point across and helped children focus in on the text.  The stories within each book repeated and built upon a pattern and at the end of each book there was a list of pattern words.  I took these words and made flashcards out of them to help my son better understand them and keep them fresh in his mind.

at 590x442 Rhyme to Read: An awesome reading app! (review and giveaway)

 

In terms of enhancements to the app, I would like to see a bit more interaction.  Currently you can read the stories and see the visuals of the words, but my son required additional help including flashcards to help reinforce the learning.  Many children may be able to understand the words the first time around, but I know my son needed a bit of extra help.  I also wish there was a multi user mode so that the app can be used with multiple children which means that books later on won’t be unlocked until your child reaches them.  It would also be nice if there was some sort of a “test” to ensure that your child has mastered the concepts before moving them on to a harder book.

If you are looking for an app to help an emerging or struggling reader, Rhyme to Read may be the key to your challenges.  This app is very much parent and child focused and will require you to spend time with your child both in the app and outside to ensure that content is being mastered.  I know in addition to reading within the app, I made flashcards as well as found other books to help my son with the concepts of the sight words we covered.  This app is currently on sale for 30% off so I would encourage you to try out the free version and if you like it, purchase the pro version to work with your children.  Trust me, you won’t regret helping them get these important early literacy skills.

Rhyme to Read full - teach beginning reading with phonics and sight words and word families (English Version)
Rhyme to Read full - teach beginning reading with phonics and sight words and word families (English Version)
by Rhyme to Read, LLC

Category: Education, Books
Requirements: Compatible with iPad2Wifi-iPad2Wifi, iPad23G-iPad23G, iPadThirdGen-iPadThirdGen, iPadThirdGen4G-iPadThirdGen4G, iPadFourthGen-iPadFourthGen, iPadFourthGen4G-iPadFourthGen4G, iPadMini-iPadMini, iPadMini4G-iPadMini4G, iPadAir-iPadAir, iPadAirCellular-iPadAirCellular, iPadMiniRetina-iPadMiniRetina, iPadMiniRetinaCellular-iPadMiniRetinaCellular, iPadAir2-iPadAir2, iPadAir2Cellular-iPadAir2Cellular, iPadMini3-iPadMini3, iPadMini3Cellular-iPadMini3Cellular, iPadMini4-iPadMini4, iPadMini4Cellular-iPadMini4Cellular, iPadPro-iPadPro, iPadProCellular-iPadProCellular, iPadPro97-iPadPro97, iPadPro97Cellular-iPadPro97Cellular, iPad611-iPad611, iPad612-iPad612, iPad71-iPad71, iPad72-iPad72, iPad73-iPad73, iPad74-iPad74
Size: 72.78 MB

$7.99USD

Screenshots for iPad
(Click to enlarge)

Try a test book before you buy!

Rhyme to Read - teach beginning reading with phonics, sight words and word families (English Free Version)
Rhyme to Read - teach beginning reading with phonics, sight words and word families (English Free Version)
by Rhyme to Read, LLC

Category: Education, Books
Requirements: Compatible with iPad2Wifi-iPad2Wifi, iPad23G-iPad23G, iPadThirdGen-iPadThirdGen, iPadThirdGen4G-iPadThirdGen4G, iPadFourthGen-iPadFourthGen, iPadFourthGen4G-iPadFourthGen4G, iPadMini-iPadMini, iPadMini4G-iPadMini4G, iPadAir-iPadAir, iPadAirCellular-iPadAirCellular, iPadMiniRetina-iPadMiniRetina, iPadMiniRetinaCellular-iPadMiniRetinaCellular, iPadAir2-iPadAir2, iPadAir2Cellular-iPadAir2Cellular, iPadMini3-iPadMini3, iPadMini3Cellular-iPadMini3Cellular, iPadMini4-iPadMini4, iPadMini4Cellular-iPadMini4Cellular, iPadPro-iPadPro, iPadProCellular-iPadProCellular, iPadPro97-iPadPro97, iPadPro97Cellular-iPadPro97Cellular, iPad611-iPad611, iPad612-iPad612, iPad71-iPad71, iPad72-iPad72, iPad73-iPad73, iPad74-iPad74
Size: 72.84 MB

$FREE

Screenshots for iPad
(Click to enlarge)


Promo Codes 7/12/15 #celebratesummer
1. http://redeem-now.com/cfcdf90e9af6
2. http://redeem-now.com/d4ac1c150421

Alison, the American iMum is from Massachusetts. She lives there with her two sons and husband. In their spare time, they enjoy playing outside, enjoying nature and of course testing apps and fantastic products on their devices. My older son loves technology and loves testing out the “latest and newest” apps and tech. I love sharing information about apps and products with others to help them make decisions without feeling overwhelmed with all of the choices.



ArtikPix Levels Plus By Expressive Solutions – Review and Giveaway




iPad Screenshot 1

What we love…

Variety of levels from word to paragraph, customization options, ability to create own cards, ability to record both audio and video.

What we’d love to see…

Ability to use a cards for multiple target sounds, and to add pre-existing cards to custom decks

Summary

ArtikPix Levels Plus is the most comprehensive, flexible, articulation app I have yet come across – highly recommended !

Our Rating

Reviewed by Mary Mahon with input from Suzanne Berhow, SLP

ArtikPix Levels PlusArtikPix Levels is the latest articulation therapy app from Expressive Solutions. ArtikPix Levels Plus is the full version including all decks and features, a free version is also available which just includes the Th deck, with other decks available as in-app purchases. This review is of the full version, which includes almost 1,500 cards in 24 decks: b, ch, d, f, g, h, j, k, l, l-blends, m, n, p, r, r-blends, s, s-blends, sh, t, th, v, w, y, z.  ArtikPix Levels Plus also includes the ability to create your own decks, this is not included in the free version unless you purchase all decks.

The app allows creation of multiple student profiles, each with their own personalized settings, and up to 8 students can play at one time – making it very useful in group therapy settings. It is very customizable – for each student you can choose which decks to work on and you can further customize the decks by e.g. by choosing initial, medial or final, and can even pick which exact words to target. The app allows you to work at word, phrase, sentence or paragraph level, and you can also choose the syllable length (1-4)  of the target words. The best part is ArtikPix Levels remembers the configurations, so you don’t have to repeatedly select them to target your students’ needs.

There are 3 different activities in the app: Flashcards, Pick or Spin and Matching. Flashcards and Pick or Spin both include all 4 levels: word, phrase, sentence & paragraph; the Matching game just includes Word level. In each activity there is the option to record the student’s response and listen to it played back. This recording can be audio only or video and audio. Many articulation apps offer audio recording but this is the first time I have seen video recording included. This can be really useful for letting students see how their tongue and mouth position compares to the SLP or parent working with them for both correct and incorrect sound production. There is also an option to save these videos to the camera roll which can be a great asset in communication between SLPs and parents to show how a child is doing at producing a particular sound or word at home vs in therapy sessions.

Flashcards have color photographs and you can choose to have them narrated, or have the student read the text on the card. The paragraph level is designed to be read by the student so narration is not provided at this level. Within each session you can easily switch between word, phrase, sentence and paragraph levels by tapping on the tabs under the flashcard. The SLP or parent marks each production by tapping a x for incorrect, or check mark for correct, or a P to indicate prompts required. You can skip any cards that you wish and record any that you wish the student to hear &/see their production of.

Matching game has 3 difficulty levels : from 6 cards up to 20 cards, you can choose whether pair matches are removed or stay visible.

Pick or Spin : in this game an electronic machine picks a random card from the students decks, they can choose to say this card or spin again. The player can easily switch between word, phrase, sentence and paragraph levels by pressing buttons. The target e.g “initial l sentence” is displayed on the machine after each spin.

2014-11-18_10-29-12

Data recording:

In each activity, you can collect data separated by student and sound group for independent and prompted responses. You can collect prompted data as well (gestural, physical, verbal and visual) and write your own notes. After an activity, students’ data is saved in the app, and you can also easily share via clipboard or email.

iPad Screenshot 4

Custom Cards

ArtikPix Levels Plus also includes the ability to create your own cards. I love to have this option in articulation apps, my daughter has Apraxia and so we often have to customize which words she has as targets to work with her unique articulation patterns. With the custom card option I can use the exact word lists her SLP has chosen for her, even if some of those words are not in the app’s included word lists.

I love having the ability to add the student or their family members or pets names when they are working on a sound in those names, as these are important target words for them.

There are 3 ways to create cards: using photos from your camera roll, taking pictures with your device camera and using images from Bing image search (which is similar to Google images). Once you have an image you enter its target sound, syllable length, and enter the word, phrase, sentence and paragraph. You can also record audio for the word, phrase and sentence. The custom decks are available when you are working in all activities so you can choose to work on them alone or in combination with any of the pre-made decks in all activities.

2014-11-18_10-35-37

Much as I love the custom deck feature there are a few more features I would love to see added: the ability to integrate newly created cards into the pre-existing decks; ability to use cards for multiple target sounds e.g. to use lamp for both initial l and final p so that you don’t need to create it twice and ability to re-use existing cards in my custom decks.

Overall, this is an excellent articulation app -it is very flexible, allows lots of customization, choice of word, phrase, sentence and paragraph levels, ability to record and playback both audio and video and the ability to create your own custom decks. It is the most comprehensive, flexible, articulation app I have yet come across – highly recommended !

ArtikPix Levels Plus – Expressive Solutions LLC (Full version)

ArtikPix Levels Plus ArtikPix Levels Plus by Expressive Solutions LLC

Price: $29.99 USD

"It's the best app with the most flexibility I have ever used for articulation.” Suzanne Berhow, SLP
“I absolutely adore the app! It is so clean and crisp, full of content and options!” Angie.

ArtikPix Levels – Expressive Solutions LLC (Free version with IAP)

ArtikPix Levels ArtikPix Levels by Expressive Solutions LLC

Price: $FREE

"It's the best app with the most flexibility I have ever used for articulation.” Suzanne Berhow, SLP
“I absolutely adore the app! It is so clean and crisp, full of content and options!” Angie.

GIVEAWAY

We have 3 copies of this 5 star app to give away, please enter via the widget below, winners will be emailed and must respond within 48hrs to claim their prize.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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.

 

Mary is originally from England but now lives in California with her husband, dog, cat and three children. Mary and her family love Apple products and own an iPad2, iPad3, iPad Mini, iTouch, iPhone5 and several MacBook Pros. They also love cub scouts, skiing, camping and hiking. The family iPads are also used for therapy for their daughters Apraxia (speech disorder).



Verb Quest by Smarty Ears – Review + Giveaway




iPad Screenshot 1

What we love…

Lots of levels, don’t have to complete earlier levels to access higher levels, random presentation option. Recording option which lets students hear the correct grammar skills in their own voice! !

What we’d love to see…

The option to not include questions as correct if the student used a hint.

Summary

Overall this is a great app that can be used by many children at different levels who have a difficult time with using the correct verbs in sentences.

Our Rating

Verb Quest from Smarty Ears is a multi player app for working on the correct use of verbs in sentences. It has a magical theme and great graphics, the kids say wow when they see it opening, but they expect it to be more interactive than the app really is.

The SLP, parent or teacher can choose from a variety of different verb types to work on, and can choose to just work on one type presented by level, or on multiple types presented in random order. The student is presented with a picture and a sentence that is missing the verb. At the bottom of the page there are choices that the student moves into the open position in the sentence. If the student is wrong they hear a noise and the word is returned to the bottom of the page, If the word is correct they hear a different sound and the word is made a part of the sentence. Once they have correctly completed the sentence they have the option to record it and play it back.

iPad Screenshot 4

Each student is represented by a duck dressed as a witch or wizard and flying on a broomstick. The player whose turn it is has their duck at the top of the page and the other players are listed along the left side of the page. As students get items right their duck moves across the top of the screen. The duck does not move if the student gets an item wrong or uses a hint to get the item right. If the student uses a hint the right word is placed in the sentence and the score changes. (Ex. 4/6 then becomes 5/7). Once 10 exercises are completed correctly without hints the student is given the option to practice more at this level or move to the next level.

iPad Screenshot 5

There are 20 levels: simple present tense, simple past tense, simple future tense (regular), present past and future, irregular present, simple present to be, irregular verbs- past tense, future tense irregular verbs, past tense to be- was/were, past participle- irregular, present/past participle, present and past progressive, modals, negative modals, present perfect regular and irregular, past perfect, future perfect, tense shift 1, tense shift 2 and gerunds infinitives participles.

iPad Screenshot 3

Options include: display hint, auto progression, display accuracy, and record correct answer. Also the background picture can be eliminated to have a white background. I prefer the picture background but it could be distracting for some students so this is a nice option.

 

Progress reports can be reported two ways: 1. Session which shows the date, the level worked on, the settings (hint on/off) and accuracy in %. 2. Level shows level accuracy -/- and either mastered, needs practice or not played for every level. The progress will change with more practice on the same day at the level. I played and had 85% which is mastered, then went back in and achieved 16% needs practice, and third time mastered. These reports can be emailed or opened in different apps including Smarty Ears Therapy Report Center where you can compile data from all Smarty Ears apps on each child on your caseload.

Overall, this is a great app that can be used by many children at different levels who have a difficult time with using verbs correctly in sentences. It will be useful for SLPs, parents and teachers working on English language skills with their students.

Verb Quest – Smarty Ears

Verb Quest
Verb Quest
by Smarty Ears

Category: Education, Games
Requirements: Compatible with iPad2Wifi-iPad2Wifi, iPad23G-iPad23G, iPadThirdGen-iPadThirdGen, iPadThirdGen4G-iPadThirdGen4G, iPadFourthGen-iPadFourthGen, iPadFourthGen4G-iPadFourthGen4G, iPadMini-iPadMini, iPadMini4G-iPadMini4G, iPadAir-iPadAir, iPadAirCellular-iPadAirCellular, iPadMiniRetina-iPadMiniRetina, iPadMiniRetinaCellular-iPadMiniRetinaCellular, iPadAir2-iPadAir2, iPadAir2Cellular-iPadAir2Cellular, iPadMini3-iPadMini3, iPadMini3Cellular-iPadMini3Cellular, iPadMini4-iPadMini4, iPadMini4Cellular-iPadMini4Cellular, iPadPro-iPadPro, iPadProCellular-iPadProCellular, iPadPro97-iPadPro97, iPadPro97Cellular-iPadPro97Cellular, iPad611-iPad611, iPad612-iPad612, iPad71-iPad71, iPad72-iPad72, iPad73-iPad73, iPad74-iPad74
Size: 77.21 MB

$19.99USD

Screenshots for iPad
(Click to enlarge)

Giveaway

If you would like to win a promo code for this app, please enter via the widget below. Winners will be emailed and must contact The iMums within 48 hours to claim their prize. This giveaway is open to everyone, worldwide, and an iTunes account is required to claim the prize. Please ensure you have read and understand our Terms & Conditions. Good luck!

Suzanne is married with one fantastic 12 year old daughter. Suzanne is a school speech language pathologist in the public schools and enjoys her job tremendously. She and her family have recently moved from North Dakota to Texas and are enjoying the wonderful climate change this move has provided. Suzanne has always been the power user of new electronics in her schools and loves to teach others what she has learned. She shares her knowledge of appropriate apps with coworkers and families.

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