Uses total immersion method of language learning. Has real life video clips of kids, variety of activities and lessons build on previous ones
Can only use in landscape orientation, would like to be able to use in portrait also. Buying all parts of the program can be pricey
Early Lingo Spanish is a well made program to introduce Spanish to children from 3-9 years old . It uses total immersion with video clips, interactive workbooks and flashcards
Early Lingo is a company that produces language learning educational products for children. They have produced a series of language learning DVDs since 2011 and now have their programs available via iOS apps. They currently have programs available in Spanish, French, German, Italian, Mandarin and English. We are reviewing the Early Lingo Spanish Language Learning for kids app. It is free to download and contains in-app purchases to unlock content. Jojo the monkey and Lulu the bird are the children’s guides throughout the app. In the app there are 6 different adventures, each one targeting different vocabulary topics. Each lesson builds upon the last and reinforces previous activities. When they complete an adventure it unlocks a corresponding game.
The app uses the Total Immersion Method i.e. there is no translation. It is suitable for children from approximately 3-9 years old. In an Immersion Program kids learn the language much the same way as we learn to speak our native tongue – by seeing the language in action by native speakers. My oldest son attended a Spanish Immersion Elementary School for 6 years, and I really think the immersion model is the best way for children to learn a second language. He started Kindergarten knowing no Spanish at all and rapidly learned to understand, speak, read and write in his new language. He was taught 100% in Spanish from the first day, half of his classmates were native Spanish speakers and half native English speakers, the English speaking kids learnt what to do by watching the Spanish speaking kids. The Early Lingo app works on the same principle, it includes videos and learning activities and throughout the app the only language spoken is Spanish.
The Early Lingo Spanish app is free to download for a limited amount of content, and then you can choose to buy the six adventures individually, or as a bundle. An adventure consists of a series of video clips with learning activities in between the clips, that reinforce the vocabulary words they have just learned. There are both cartoon videos of Lulu and Jojo and real life video clips of children. Each time a vocabulary word is introduced the child not only hears the word and sees a picture or video clip that represents it, but also sees the word written on the screen.
In the first adventure Jojo and Lulu go to the park. Whilst at the park they learn about colors and things at the park, but also learn other vocabulary terms such as balloons, painter, sun, girl, apple, cookies, crackers, milk, dog, eating, drinking and playing. After watching a video clip there are reinforcing activities in the form of an interactive workbook. There are 4 videos in the first adventure with workbook activities in between each clip. The first clip introduces colors, the second things that happen in the park such as children playing and eating, the third focuses on shapes whilst reinforcing colors and the last video expands upon the vocabulary of objects that can be found in a park such as play equipment, trees, butterflies and flowers.
The workbook exercises start very simply- touching pictures to hear the name of the object or concept, and gradually increase in complexity- such as touching a picture that matches what is said. Towards the end of the adventure the child leans to answer more complex questions such as “De que colores es?” (what color is?) “un pez anaranjado.” To answer first they touch the correct object (fish) from a choice of 6, then they pick the right color (orange) from an artist palette that pops up when they correctly identify the object.
I like that each new object or concept is presented in a variety of ways which helps generalization. The real life videos of children playing are a nice addition to the cartoon videos and still pictures. Although the app concentrates on teaching simple objects and actions these are brought together to form phrases and more complex concepts. For instance after learning food, shapes and actions such as drawing and eating, they see a child drawing a circle and Jojo drinking milk and hear how to describe these actions in Spanish.
As the child completes the workbook activities Jojo’s face at the top of the page is gradually colored in. Once he is in full color (all activities completed for that adventure) this unlocks a learning game such as a motorcycle race where Jojo’s progress depends on the child correctly identifying the named object from 3 choices.
There are also flashcards that the child can use to practice the words they have learned. For more mature learners there is also the option of creating their own vocabulary book by writing in the names of the objects in an interactive book. I did find that this didn’t save well from visit to visit though- when we wrote the names initially they were under the correct pictures but when we returned to use the book later the names were written randomly across the page so we had to erase them and start again. The app appears to be only useable in portrait orientation, it would be more convenient to also be able to use it in landscape, especially as some cases and stands don’t work well in portrait.
Other adventures follow a similar format, but introduce new vocabulary as Jojo and Lulu visit different locations and learn about new things. The other adventures are: Numbers & Counting at the Farm, Opposites at the Beach, Alphabet at School, At the Market (food and kitchen objects) and In the City.
The app is free to download then $3.99 to complete the first adventure, other adventures are $8.99 each, flash cards are $3.99, or you can purchase a bundle that includes all the adventures plus flashcards for $48.99. The full unlock of the adventures includes over 450 words and phrases. For each adventure there is also an option to purchase a longer video version (which are the same as the DVDs sold via the Early Lingo website). They are the same videos that are featured within the apps, just in longer format. These cost $10.99 each or $54.99 for the bundle (we did not test the full length videos.)
Overall, I really like the immersion method of language learning for kids. I think Early Lingo Spanish provides a good introduction to Spanish for kids in pre-school and early elementary school. It has a good range of videos and interactive activities and I like how the concepts are reinforced and built upon as the adventures progress. It can get pricey by the time you have bought all the adventures, especially if you also buy the full length videos. It can also be a little tricky working out what is included in your purchases, so it would be nice to see the addition of a separate locked parents area (in English) that explains everything included in the app and the purchasing options with links to buy them. If you have a child in the target age range that you would like to introduce to Spanish, my recommendation is to download the free content and try it with your child. If they enjoy the content I would pay the $3.99 to unlock the first adventure, after your child has completed that you can decide if they are enjoying it enough to invest in the rest of the adventures.
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).
Fully customizable lessons with lots of different learning modes.
What we’d love to see…
Even more boards on math.
Bitsboard Pro is the ultimate educational app with top-quality content and outstanding enabling features to meet the learning needs of every child.
How many times have you wished that you can modify a well-developed learning app just that little bit to better match your child’s skills. Or thought of replacing some of the content with your own instead? Have you ever wondered if there is this ONE App that can meet most (if not all) of your child’s educational needs? What about an app that can accommodate the educational goals and learning difficulties of an entire class?
This is a tall order for any app considering children learn at different pace and thrive in different learning environment. And to be able to add our own content in an app seems like an impossible task! But Bitsboard Pro has all our wishes covered. It is the ultimate educational app for children from preschool right up to elementary school level, giving you access to thousands of topics (with many new ones added every month) and the ability to customize the way students learn in the app as well as the app content itself.
Alright, most of us don’t have the time nor inclination to create our own content. We just want an app that has ready-to-download learning materials and Bitsboard has lots of content to offer. After creating a user account, you can browse through Bitsboard’s extensive lessons catalog or search for specific lessons and download (over the internet) the ones that you need. Here, lessons are presented in individual boards, each containing a series of flashcards (bits). Topics include languages, vocabulary, grammar, reading (sight words, word families, phonics, readers), sentence maker, speech, spelling, letter tracing, math facts, math operations, money, time telling, sign language, routines, sequences, emotions and many more! The free version of Bitsboard itself comes with lots of shared resources that you can start with right away.
What I really love in Bitsboard is that you can choose up to 30 fully customizable learning modes or games that help children to learn and retain the information presented in the lessons. You can start with the simpler games and progress to the more complex ones. With so many different ways to learn the same materials, students remain engaged and learn better. Check out Bitsboard’s long list of fun learning games – Flashcards, Explore, True or False, Photo Touch, Photo Hunt, Memory Cards, Pop Quiz, Match Up, Word Builder, Sentence Builder, Spelling Bee, BINGO, Letter Tracing, Sequences, Related items, Word Search, Word Chunks, Crosswords, Unscramble, Say It, Missing Item, Puzzles, Reader, What’s Next, Odd One Out, Sort It, Side by Side, Story Time, Genius, Review Game and Board Creator
For each game, you can modify things like the session length, with or without visual/audio hints, spelling order, display options, number of tiles, matching options and answer mode. Customization is easy but it would be tedious if you have more than 1 user. Luckily, you don’t have to keep adjusting the settings and preferences as these are saved for each user (unlimited users for the Pro version). Likewise, the tracking of detailed progress and lesson plans is stored at the user level. Bitsboard’s learning algorithm also ensures that each game automatically advances according to the individual user’s skills.
If you are an educator, you will like the ease of creating custom lessons with your own cards (from photo library, dropbox, web search or Bitsboard Catalog of images), audio recording and text (words, phrases, sentences, description). Your students can learn anything you present to them using the Bitsboard learning games. You can also set up your own exclusive class with your own selection of boards for sharing with your students or fellow teachers privately.
I’m truly impressed with all the meaningful features that have been continually added in Bitsboard in order to support students and educators. There are many more that are not mentioned here. This all-in-one educational app far exceeds all my expectations in terms of content and ability to be customized. I don’t think you’ll find another app that is as versatile and comprehensive as this. Bitsboard Pro is an essential learning app that all families and classes must have!
If you would like to win a promo code for this app, please enter via the widget below. 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!
Grace was working in the fields of early childhood education and staff training before quitting to attend to her 4 children full time. She and her family live in Singapore, which is well known for her highly competitive education system.
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.
The Voyages of Aladdin and Sinbad
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.
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.
interactive storybook where children can watch animations and discover different items on the pages.
What we’d love to see…
ability to read the story to yourself, re-recording of the English narration in the story as well as the ability to turn off the background music. I would also like to see the bathing suit color be consistent throughout the story
If reading this story in French or Spanish, this is a great app! The English narration of the story was not a good match due to the accent and mistakes made when reading the story. Overall, the storyline is cute as are the games, but the narration is a miss.
Rose Milany At The Beach is one of a series of interactive books, from the Rose Milany Collection. In this eBook, a young girl named Rose Milany spends the day at the beach with her little dog. The reader is invited to interact with Rose Milany and to choose her bathing suit, sunglasses and even build a sandcastle. The games solicit sound and visual memory of the child”. There is an option to ready and play the eBook in English, French or Spanish.
The eBook contains approximately 20 pages; 10 with the ability to interact with the page. Included are 3 games and a song. The 3 games are
Momoread: find objects from the story
The Stickers: Fill in the blanks from a written story with the stickers depicting the objects
The Beach: Help Rose Milany clean the Beach.
There are 3 versions of the story (English, French and Spanish). In all three, Rose Milany narrates her adventures at the beach. On about half the pages, the children can touch and move the objects around to discover hidden elements and watch animations. For example, the sun is depicted as a daffodil, and to empty her pail you need to shake the net beside her. As well, in order to return to the home page, you need to tap a hat; I thought it was a way to change her clothes! The pages that cannot be “played with” flip by themselves, rather quickly. For most pages, each time you play, the animations and expectations are the same. For some pages you can rearrange the icons to different locations. Even if the child chooses a certain color bathing suit, it stays pink on all the other pages.
There are the same 3 games for each language. Common elements for the games are a question mark at the top to have the instructions repeated and background music throughout. In the Momread game, the children as asked 5 questions about things they saw in the story. I like this game as it really works on visual memory. When my students’ played it for the first time, they asked to go back and read the story again, so that they could actually concentrate on the pictures. The reinforcement for this game, is minimal, a “no” if they choose wrong and a “well done” when correct response is chosen.
The Stickers game is a visual copying game. The kids are asked to read the story and fill in the blanks with the missing “sticker”. There is really no need to read through the short paragraph; they just have to slide the object into the shadow of the sticker. The app does not let them place the stickers out of order and there is not verbal reinforcement.
I liked that the French and Spanish versions of the app encouraged vocabulary growth. Each of the pages contains short sentences and easy to follow instructions with games to promote visual and auditory memory. I also liked that the song throughout was catch and had rhyming. Each of the games resets as you leave the page which means you can complete it over and over again.One of my favorite parts was a song sung by Rose Milany. I liked the catchy tune and the rhyming aspect of this little song, present in all three languages. My students left the room humming the song!
In terms of improvement, I would like to see the English narration improved. The narrator has a heavy accent and it is difficult to understand. As we progress through the book, there are many other inconsistencies, in English ( crayfish is a lobster, asked for 3 colors of sunglasses when there are 4, the instruction pages do not show the correct items to look for “she meets a crab so sweet”, the picture is a pail and shovel). Throughout the English version, the grammar of production both written and spoken is completely off. Punctuation is not consistent either. I asked both a French and Spanish colleague to play around with the app, and they reassured me that none of these problems were present in their respective languages. The instructional pages have matching words, pictures and audible (pail and shovel pictures “she played with her pail and shovel” They actually found the app to be a lot more engaging and pleasing. There are significant “technical” differences between the English version as compared to the French and Spanish.Rose Milany’s accent in the English version hinders intelligibility and correct modeling. The accent is not present in the French and Spanish.
If possible, I would suggest re-recording of the narration with a native English speaker who could help read the story more clearly. The app does not have a locked section and there is one external unprotected link to the internet in the settings area. I’d suggest a gate to prevent kids from getting in here by mistake. The final few pages show Rose Milany with sunburn from sleeping in the sun for too long. I am not really happy with this message, although the kids found it cute that she was as “red as a currant”. Final pages Rose Milany is in the bathtub, healing her sunburn. The third game is one where the children are asked to help Rose Milany clean up the beach by putting finding 10 non-desirable items and putting them in the trash can. The items need to actually be put right into the can. If the kids just moved it to the edge it bounced back, resulting in remarks like “but that is garbage!” This was their least favorite game! I found the background music to overpower the audio. It would be nice to be able to turn off the background music and just “listen” to the story. Even when we wore earphones, the music was quite distracting. Although the pages look the same, and the animations are the same in all 3 eBooks, there are issues with the vocabulary in the English version.
Overall, this is a well done storybook in French and Spanish. The English narration needs a bit of work to be more usable for native English speakers as the current narration takes away from the story. The interaction and games are fun and encourage children to engage and see what they can learn from the story.
Lisa is a Speech Language Pathologist who has been working in an inclusive school system for over 32 years. She works with children that have issues in all areas of speech and language. She loves her work and is always looking for ways to integrate technology.
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