“When children are provided with 10 to 20 self-selected children’s books at the end of the regular school year, as many as 50 percent not only maintain their skills, but actually make reading gains” (Bridging the Summer Reading Gap, by Anne McGill-Franzen and Richard Allington; as cited by www.scholastic.com/readeveryday). The importance of summer reading is clear. Help motivate your child to read this summer by introducing some books on the iPad or iPhone! Here is a list of children’s books that are interactive and provide great learning opportunities:
1. Hallmark Books (“Cooper’s Big Bear Hug,” “Bigsby’s Best Friend,” “Christopher Can’t Sleep,” etc.) – These books are all free! Hallmark sells stuffed animals (“Story Buddies”) to go along with each story. The Story Buddies can be turned on when you read the story, and they will respond as the story is read aloud (however, it is not necessary to have the Story Buddy in order to enjoy the book!). You can choose to have the books read aloud to you, or there is an option to read the books aloud and record your narration! Each book also has two games that go along with it!
2. Speech with Milo Interactive Storybook – This book costs $1.99. It provides options to read and record your narrative or to listen to the book. The graphics in each scene are interactive and have sound effects and movement when touched.
3. Ruckus Reader – Ruckus Reader offers collections of books, which are sorted into 3 different reading levels: emergent, beginning, and independent readers. Some books are free and some need to be purchased. There are also options to download samples of books prior to purchasing them. These books provide options to turn the narration on or off. You can also record your own voice reading the story. Another nice feature is the “roll call,” which allows the child to review information about each of the main characters in the book before or after reading.
4. I Like Books – This app provides 37 picture books for only $1.99. These books are very simple and are great for young children and beginning readers. Options for each book include “read to me, “read by myself,” and “autoplay.” There is also a voice recording feature. Story topics include animals, colors, letters, seasons, school, and shapes.
5. Disney Books (“Toy Story Read-Along,” “The Jungle Book,” “Peter Pan,” etc.). The “Toy Story Read-Along” is free and the rest of the Disney books cost around $3.99 each. These books have great graphics that make it feel as though you are watching a movie at times! Features of the “Toy Story Read-Along” include games and coloring activities for selected scenes. You can also turn the “read to me” feature on or off, and there is an option for voice recording.
Amy Certuse, MS, CCC-SLP
(Co-owner of Let's Talk Speech & Language Therapy Services, LLC in Easton, MA)