Bob Books #1 - Reading Magic brings the Bob Books series to life as a fun, engaging and very educational interactive application that helps pre-readers become early readers as they practice letter recognition, phonic sounds and beginner spelling. As with other Learning Touch apps, do check out the options as many thoughtful choices are included, personalizing the experience. Versions for both iPhone and iPad are available.
I really enjoy using this application with my three year old son. In a creative and fun way, this app uses short and simple words as well as sight words that make up easy sentences which become animated scenes acting out what is being described, such as “Mat sat” or “Sam has a cat.”
The various objects or persons used in these sentences also become the focus of a very nice word game where one matches up the letters that make up the spelling of the word in question, dragging and dropping these letters to their rightful places in letter boxes that together make up this specific word.
I think it is especially nice how the illustrations used in these word games are black and white but turn to color when the word puzzle is solved, and I appreciate how an animated scene which follows the puzzle completion also turns from black and white to color, as this scene nicely follows through on what has been learned.
This delivery would make this app not only a nice learning letters-and-phonics exercise, but also an exercise for learning basic vocabulary, object as well as verb comprehension, and as a useful as a tool for kids learning English as a second language, as well as for kids with special needs as it teaches not only the principles of reading and spelling, but also the basics of how to communicate with words.
I am happy that one gets to choose either letters or phonics to be used during these word games, as either the letter names or phonic sounds are spoken when a letter is tapped during these exercises and again when the game is complete to emphasize what has been learned. These options make this app appropriate for kids new to letter recognition as well as for early readers familiar with phonics, and it is great that this app will grow with a child taking them through many levels of literacy development. This app is content-rich, with 12 scenes and 32 words - just the right length for my son who showed signs of not being 100 percent focused only as the last scene was finishing up. Until then, he was very engaged and eager to play this game.
This app includes four levels of difficulty, ranging from being able to copy the letters as one drags and drops letters to their rightful places, as one it able to match the spelling seen in the letter boxes. Later, one can still copy the spelling, but the words must be completed from left to right in correct spelling order. The difficulty progresses to where one cannot copy the spelling, and finally, one must choose the correct letters as well as extra letters that are mixed in, adding difficulty to these puzzles. I also really like that these last two levels use other words from these sentences as puzzle words as well, including the use of sight words. These levels can change automatically, or one can choose a specific level for all 12 scenes, adding many options for game play and much newness each time this app is used.
It is also very nice to see that even when this app was closed, it re-opened to the scene last played, and one can also scroll through a section of this app to choose a specific scene to start from as well.
I am very impressed with this creative learning app, and I am very impressed with Bob Books in general after playing with this application. I will be on the lookout for a set of Bob Books for my son, as I want him to experience these types of educational activities as apps, but in their classic form as well. For more information, please look at bobbooks.com, and iTunes for more info about this app, as well as the other very good learning apps from Learning Touch.