Archive for the ‘technology’ Category

Reading App Review: Bob Books App

February 10, 2011

I don’t usually review books here on Literacy Toolbox.  Instead I tend to save book reviews for Picture This! Teaching with Picture Books.  More often than not, as I read a picture book, I read it with an educator frame.  In other words, how can I use this book in the classroom?  And so, books I review tend to find themselves on my educator blog.

However, I have come across several books lately that I feel parents would find helpful as well.  So, this month on Literacy Toolbox, I will share books or apps that I have recently read and/or played with my kids.

Bob Books App

Technically, Bob Books isn’t a book – well, they do have books, but my children have never read them.  However, when I saw they had app for the iPad, I had to download it.  My children use our iPad fairly regularly, mainly for educational games and books.  I knew Bob Books are pretty popular and so I felt the app would be a great tool to enhance my daughter’s beginning reading skills.

Bob Books were created to “guide your child gently through the earliest stages of reading.”  My preschooler sat down one afternoon and played with this app.  The app begins with a black and white picture and a sentence describing the picture.  Children click on specific parts of the picture and then spell the word, phonetically, by dragging the correct letters to the word (which is already spelled for them) in any order.  After they complete the spelling of all of the parts, the sentence is read aloud to them.  My daughter enjoyed spelling the words and attempting to read aloud the sentence before it was read to her.

In looking closer, the app provides the parent with two options: phonics or letter names.  The letter names option allows the child to spell the word without the letters already there.  So parents have the option to scaffold the game for their children based on their developmental level.  Additionally, the game provides players with four different levels.  Each level becomes a little harder for the reader.  My daughter played on Level 1.

On Level 2, children have to place the letters in order from left to right (not just from any direction as my daughter had played).  In Level 3, the letter hints are gone and children will have to spell words from the caption.  In Level 4, there are extra letters that aren’t used in the word.

This app is great for your beginning readers.  My daughter is familiar with many sight words already and has shown an interest in reading.  This app reinforces her interest in reading by engaging her in sight word recognition, as well as phonics.  I like the fact that the app changes by level based on a child’s developmental level.

©2011 by Dawn Little for Literacy Toolbox. All Amazon links are affiliate links and may result in my receiving a small commission. This is at no additional cost to you.

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Using Technology to Entice Boys to Read

October 28, 2010

The media has a lot to say about boys and reading.  I will speak to recent media coverage over the next month.  However, having been a teacher of fourth and fifth grade boys and now a mother of a second grade boy, I am always looking for ways to engage boys in reading.  So this month on Literacy Toolbox, I hope to focus on boys and reading.

Like it or not technology is here to stay.  Many people think technology could put an end to reading as we know it.  Others are ready to embrace technology and determine its place in society.  I think technology can be a double edged sword when it comes to reading.  However, I do believe that technology can be used to entice boys to read.  How, you ask?

Historically, science and math have always interested boys.  Now we have technology which is a newer form of science and math is used to create it.  Hmm.  Sounds right up a boy’s alley if you ask me.  So how can we harness technology and use it in a way that entices our boys to read instead of stopping them from reading altogether?  I’m not propagating that boys should only use technology to read, but instead technology can supplement traditional paper books.   Here are two ways to consider:

Video Games – Boys thrive on action and competition.  Video games provide both.  But, video games also provide reading opportunities.  If you allow your son to play video games that require reading to move on to future levels, your son has the opportunity to meet his need for action and your desire for him to read.  Or, provide your son with the manual to a favorite game so that he can read the manual to learn how to advance to future levels.  Many gaming magazines are also available now such as Nintendo Power or PlayStation: The Official Magazine.  Read how video games played a part in one teen’s inspiring success story at Get Kids Reading.

Digital Storytelling – This is a fantastic way for boys to enjoy reading and writing, without traditional pen and paper.  When boys tell stories through digital means, they create writing pieces using technology and media.  They may use photos, artwork, audio clips or video clips.  When combined together these materials create a multimedia presentation.  Read more about digital storytelling on Getting Boys to Read.

What ways do you encourage technology use in your house?  Do you think boys can have a healthy balance of technology and traditional books?

©2010 by Dawn Little for Literacy Toolbox. All Rights Reserved.  All Amazon links are affiliate links and may result in my receiving a small commission. This is at no additional cost to you.