Sunday, 2 June 2013

Smithsonian Learn to Read eBooks on Science and Nature

One of the things I love about eBooks is the ability to instantly get hold of a book on a topic my kids are currently excited about. At the moment they are fascinated with the woolly mammoth. That's how I discovered the Smithsonian series of reading book apps.

I was searching the appstore for anything mammoth related and kid-friendly and came across the Smithsonian Woolly Mammoth in Trouble eBook.
It's a proper learn to read book where you can tap the words to have them spoken. You can also choose to have the story read to the child.

The reading level was perfect for my nearly five year old (he's a good reader though) - enough tricky words to keep him challenged and give his big brother a chance to help.

The artwork is very nicely done and there's snow falling on many pages. You can click on pictures to see and hear the corresponding word, but that feature was pretty weak. There were some nice sound effects though.

I can imagine an older child who reads well racing through the book. But we spent almost an hour with it, with my younger son doing the reading. It inspired lots of discussion and there's a facts section at the end too.

It's fairly expensive for an app, but not for a book. And it compares very well to learn-to-read eBooks on kids learning tablets which tend to be more expensive.

There's a series of Smithsonian eBooks which cover topics like dinosaurs, animals and space. If your kids are interested in these topics and are at the right stage of learning to read then these are great books to have. You can get to see several pages from each eBook on their Amazon listings so it's easy to check out whether they are at the right reading level.

The professional narration is good for younger kids who are pre-readers - the text is highlighted as it is read helping to prepare for reading. For kids who aren't interested in these topics or are already advanced readers then I think you get less value for money.

For us, it was just the right topic on they day and meant that my son enjoyed reading a challenging book. I'd love to see more eBooks like this.


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