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Tuesday, July 30, 2013

App Review: Read Me Stories 30 Book Library

Read Me Stories 30 Book Library is a great app to incorporate into your classroom's listen to reading center! It is currently listed at $1.99, which is a good price considering you are essentially getting 30 educational books in one app. These books are best for students beginning to read and who are reading at an early elementary level.  Here is what we think...

What We Like:

  1. Book Selection. The books provided within this app are great for early elementary students.  There are a nice variety of fiction books to choose from.  They are short picture books, mostly around 15-20 pages with a portion of a sentence or a short sentence on each page.  The best part---they are all already paid for! No in app purchases to worry about!
  2. Can't skip ahead. You can't swipe the book pages ahead/back while it is reading to you. This keeps my busybodies focused on one thing at a time.  After the page is read you can then turn the page or access the menu if you wish to pick a different book.  The menu has a built in parent code, so students can't easily access it which is a nice deterrent for my off task students.
  3. Character's voice. The narrator of the books each have an unique voice that matches the main character/theme of the book.  It really adds a nice touch and is great for students to hear the variation of expression in the voice.
  4. Use of interesting vocabulary words. For example, in the book Who Took My Things there are words such as hedge, sniffer, deny, and rely.  Unfortunately there is no way within the app to isolate the words, but if the student is following along they can hopefully determine which text matches the word they want to investigate further.  
  5. Focus on the story. These are interactive in the sense that the reader is moving the pages of the book, but they do not have interactive illustrations that can be manipulated by the reader.  I find this to be nice, as sometimes interactive books can be too much about the fun playing with the pictures and less about listening to the story.  There are sound effects that correlate with some parts of the story, but they add to the story not take away.  

What We Wish Was Different:
  1. Highlighting the word that is being spoken.  This would go along way to help some of my students who are working on word-to-word matching skills.
  2. Would love for there to be non-fiction books as well! Maybe that could be the next set of 30 books?!
Read Me Stories 30 Book Library is a perfect way to incorporate technology into your students' listen to reading work.  The ability to have 30 books into one spot is highly beneficial.  This app will be on my beginning of the year list of must haves for sure!  We have a FREE Reading Response Form to go along with this app in our Teachers Pay Teachers store--stop by and check it out! We'd love to hear about any other apps that you utilize in listen to reading work!

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