AppWatch: A look at what publishers are launching in the mobile space
"Record and Share" feature in Dr. Seuss digital books
Produced by: Oceanhouse Media, Inc.
Price: Free with the purchase of the digital books ($3.99 each)
Platform: iPad & iPhone
Description & Features
● Sam-I-am may not have liked green eggs and ham, but he sure as heck would have liked this app—or at least Theodor Geisel (that's Dr. Seuss to you) probably would have. For decades, Dr. Seuss titles have served as a gateway to the world of reading. Now, the Dr. Seuss digital reading experience has been taken one step further via Oceanhouse Media's exclusive Record and Share feature that allows users to record themselves reading a Dr. Seuss story and then share the recording with those who also own the digital book. The recordings can also be shared with those who do not own the digital book; anyone can listen to the recordings as standard audio files.
"Now if mom or dad are away from home, they can still read a bedtime story to their kids," said Michel Kripalani, President of Oceanhouse Media. "Or imagine a grandparent receiving a book read to them by their young grandchild. Plus, on the educational front, this is a fantastic way for teachers to evaluate, track and save a student's reading ability throughout the school year."
So far, the Record and Share feature has been added to three popular Dr. Seuss titles: "The Cat in the Hat," "Green Eggs and Ham" and "Dr. Seuss's ABC." Kripalani told Book Business that there are plans for all 100+ children's books apps that have been published by Oceanhouse Media to be updated with the Record and Share feature over the next few months.
Application: How Good is Your English?
Produced by: Oxford University Press
Platform: iPad & iPhone
Description & Features:
● Learning a new language is tough; luckily, there are plenty of resources available to those who are new to the English language, including How Good is Your English?, a new app developed by Oxford University Press. According to Harriet Seymour, Marketing Manager for Global Primary and Readers at Oxford University Press, "the app was created to make it easy for students and teachers to find the correct reading level in English and to promote the power of reading to improve language learners' skills in all aspects—speaking, writing, reading, spelling, pronunciation, fluency and confidence."
The reading levels within the app follow the same structure as the Bookworms Graded Readers, which are Oxford University Press books ranked by level of difficulty, designed for students who are just learning to read. Every level is defined by vocabulary, grammar and overall length. Verissimo Toste, Teacher and Teacher Trainer in Oxford University Press' Professional Development Department, explained why reading at the proper level is so important: "Reading will feel comfortable as students focus on the story and not the language. Comfort and enjoyment will lead students to read more, exposing them to more language, helping them to improve their English."
In addition to assessing their reading level, users can read a free chapter from each of the 30 Oxford Bookworms apps. Each chapter includes illustrations, synchronized audio to listen along and a glossary to look up unfamiliar words. As an added bonus, the app also features monthly promotions in which a "Bookworm of the Month" story is available at a reduced price (for November it's "The Adventures of Tom Sawyer").
The app also features videos from experts about the benefits of reading in English, and encourages users to share their progress by posting links to social media such as Twitter and Facebook.
The Beginner's Bible
Produced by: Zondervan
Price: Free with in-app purchase options
●No child is too young to start learning the books of the Bible, thanks to The Beginner's Bible App for iPad. Produced by Zonderkidz, one of the most prominent names in early religious education, the app was based on "The Beginner's Bible," which, according to the publisher, is the bestselling storybook Bible of all time, having sold over 6 million copies since its release in 1989.
The app is aimed at children ages 2 to 6 years old and features Bible stories, coloring pages, games and audio, making "The Beginner's Bible" a fun and interactive experience that children can enjoy either with a parent, or all by themselves. According to Helen Schmitt, Senior Director of Marketing at Zondervan, the illustrations have interactive touch screen elements that will keep children engaged, and navigation is simple enough that even preschoolers will have no problem maneuvering through their favorite Bible stories.
"We are excited to offer this app that creates a fun way for kids to learn about the Bible," said Annette Bourland, Senior Vice President of Zondervan Book Publishing, in a press release. "'The Beginner's Bible' is widely seen as the first Bible a child receives. In a digital world, it is a priority for Zonderkidz to offer a Bible geared for the youngest readers."
The complimentary download of the app includes six interactive Bible stories, coloring pages, puzzles, and a game. Additional story packs will be available for $1.99 each. Schmitt told Book Business that Zonderkidz hopes to have all 16 story packs available by Christmas.