Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Bright World eBooks app review: Ocean Forests



I am super excited to review an app from Bright World eBooks. Bright World eBooks offers non-fiction eBook apps for iPads that offer a variety of nonfiction reading for our primary learners. As you know from my blog, I LOVE technology. I love using laptops for Google Classroom, and iPads for all the various apps that kids can learn and enjoy from. I also love using my own iPad for classroom management and culture purposes. I believe that we need to prepare our students to truly have 21st-century skills.

My kids tend to not navigate toward nonfiction, so I try to use apps during my literacy stations specifically for either nonfiction or reading comprehension (so the kids can get practice on testing in a fun way).  I think more exposure to fun and interesting nonfiction will help students pick to read that genre more. I usually have three or four kids who LOVE nonfiction (specifically the science texts), but the other ones seem nervous or unsure of where to start in the nonfiction world. I NEVER tell kids what sorts of books to read, I am a strong believer that teachers must be careful not to squash a young child's love of reading. I personally dislike fiction books, I prefer nonfiction. My students are not told what genre of books to read, the library is a safe haven that they can pick whatever they would like. I also do not do reading logs for this reason. Who on Earth wants to "prove" that they read for 20 minutes by getting their parent signed nightly by a parent? No thank you. Okay, enough of my rant. Back to topic.

What is interesting about this app is that although it is nonfiction, it is written like a story that kids generally prefer at the primary level. It is a good transition to help encourage kids toward reading a variety of nonfiction books as well as fiction. This is an engaging gateway toward the world of nonfiction.


Something that I particularly liked about this app is in the "Reading" section. If offers three ways for the nonfiction book to be read- by myself, record my voice, and storytime. The storytime feature reads the book aloud and highlights each word as it is read. If the student comes across a word they do not know (such as "algae" in the screencap to the left), there is a dictionary feature that kids can tap that will not only define the word, but also offer the option of having it read to them.  The "record my voice" feature is super neat as well to help specific kids with reading fluency.

The app also has a gaming feature. Kiddos can match up words and be able to view the picture of the word (for example, seeing a picture of kelp alongside the word). The game is more demanding as the kids improve at the game, so it provides nice differentiation. I can see the game being used for early finishers or as a motivator for kids who have a tough time with their writing or reading.
The graphics are also well done on this app. They are crisp and clear. If kids click the "Exploring" link, they can take a peek at the ocean floor. There's even a flashlight feature to light up some of the organisms down there!

Overall, I was very pleased with the app and will definitely integrate it into my literacy stations in September.

The app is currently available for $2.99 in the iTunes store, feel free to check it out here! :-)


Thanks for Bright World eBooks for providing me with this app. All the opinions expressed in this review are purely my own.

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