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Little Poets by Enabling Genius – Review

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Little Poets is the first of a series of “edutaining” apps from British app developer Enabling Genius. It contains a series of 12 short cartoons starring 3 birds – Sam, Little Pirate and Blue. The app is free to download – you can access 1 full lesson and samples of the other lessons, the full app unlock is an in-app purchase for $5.99. The app contains no adverts but does have social media links in the parents section, I would like to see a child lock on these and on the in-app purchases. This review is of the full unlocked version. The app has been developed for children aged 4-6 years, in line with US Common Core Standards and the British National Curriculum.

The videos are very short cartoons – 2 1/2 – 5 minutes in length, and in each one Sam, Blue, and Little Pirate talk about a concept such as: what adjectives are, or which direction to read. They illustrate their talks using poems such as Little Miss Moffat, The Owl and the Pussycat and The Jabberwocky. After each lesson there is a quiz , and as a reward for answering questions correctly the child can unlock cartoons of the birds telling jokes. There are 24 jokes in total to unlock. The lessons are:

Introduction to words.

Reading and Rhyming, left to right, top to bottom.

Reciting poetry loud and clear.

Feeling poetry. What’s scary to you is funny to me.

Describing words. What is an adjective.

Reading and reciting poetry. Find the rhyme.

Imagining poetry. Imagine that!

Welcome back to adjectives. Describing words.

Rhyming poetry. The case of the mixed up rhyme.

Unfamiliar words in poetry. Imagining unknown words.

Reviewing poetry. What is an acrostic poem.

Writing poetry. Last stop poetry land.

Sam, Little Pirate and Blue are entertaining guides, my six-year-old son really enjoyed the cartoons and especially enjoyed the jokes he earned. The lessons (and quizzes) do repeat important points such as reading from left to right, top to bottom and what adjectives and rhyming words are, but they do it in a fun way so the child doesn’t really notice the repetition. Whilst the child is having fun watching cartoons, they learn some important concepts such as: what adjectives are and start using them to describe themselves and others. They also learn how to read a poem, how poetry can invoke feelings, how to use rhyming words and nonsense words and how to go about creating a poem of their own. They are also exposed to some classic poems and start to learn to read them aloud. With the Owl and The Pussycat they repeat it line by line as the words are highlighted. With the Jabberwocky Little Pirate narrates the poem as it is acted by by shadow puppets, and he helps the child understand how they can work out what the poem means despite many of the words being nonsense words.

I think it is important to introduce young children to poetry and to inspire them to be interested in reading both poetry and prose. My using fun characters and well-made cartoons this app does a good job of engaging young children and teaching them at the same time. the developer states the app is for ages 4-6 which I feel is about right. It is fully narrated which means the child does not have to be a competent reader to enjoy it. My one criticism is the videos are fairly short for the price of the app, the upside of the short videos though is it does mean that the child can learn in small bites and that the lessons are short enough to hold the attention of even a fidgety child. I would recommend downloading the free app to try out the demo lesson and if your child enjoys it I’d recommend buying the full-unlock (I wouldn’t recommend buying individual lessons the whole package is much more useful and better value).

Overall, a fun and engaging introduction to poetry and English literature for pre-k – 1st grade students.

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