Have your children used an interactive book before; they’re a little different from the usual and can be used as a learning tool. Over the past month my children have been reviewing three titles from Weigl Publishers: Glaciers, A Lion’s World, and There Once Was a Cowpoke Who Swallowed an Ant.
We received three PDF downloads of the books for the purpose of our review, however, if you purchase a book, you would receive a physical copy of it, which will make the experience a little different for you, so this is worth mentioning here for clarity. With a physical book your child would be able to read it the same as any other book, but also have the opportunity to interact with the special online content.
At the beginning of each book is a website to go to (it will depend upon the book as to which website you will be directed to). Then you type in a code that is found in the book, and answer a specific question about the book for security reasons, and you will then have access to the interactive book.
There are three levels of books that we have tried, the first one, A Lion’s World, is aimed towards K-2, but I think this book would appeal most to the lower end of this scale. Children or listen to the story be read to them. The interactive component of this book are short video clips in the background. It takes about five minutes to go through this book as it doesn’t have any other activities included with it. One suggestion here would be making a lion mask from a paper plate or going on a lion walk around the house as extensions.
The second book was There Once Was a Cowpoke Who Swallowed an Ant, which is aimed again at K-2 and is akin to There Was An Old Lady Who Swallowed A Fly. It was very funny and children can read alone or follow along while listening to the story as the word sections are highlighted where the program reads the book. the voice could use a little more emotion and enthusiasm but it was fun. In fact it is Kallista’s favourite of the three books that we have reviewed.
There Once Was a Cowpoke Who Swallowed an Ant doesn’t come with any activities so my suggestions would be colouring pages to learn about life on a ranch, or something along those lines. My children had fun with the nine-banded ‘Dillow because an art class they have taken did have an armadillo for them to create such a piece which worked there nicely for them.
The third book we reviewed was Glaciers from the series “Earth’s Water,” and is aimed at grades 3-6 and is the most interactive of the three books. It comes with little icons along the side of the screen that when you press them will open new windows and where you can find worksheets, encyclopedia readings, photographs, videos, and science projects, or you can also have a computer generated voice read the text. In this book the text reading option doesn’t sound the best and I think it would be better to have a friendly ‘real’ voice reading it. At the end of the book there is a comprehension quiz that children can complete to test their comprehension.
My children worked on this book over a few days as there is a lot of information in it. There was an error to be found in this book as the map showing the location of glaciers didn’t show any in Norway, yet on the next page it does mention that there are glaciers in Norway, which my children knew about because I have mentioned visiting them myself.
We have also shown the kids pictures of our honeymoon in Canada when we visited the Athabasca Glacier and the Columbia Icefield. The Icefields Parkway between Banff and Jasper is one of my favourite places to drive as there is beauty on all sides. This helped to bring glaciers a little closer to home for the children when they could see their parents atop one, as well as see a crevasse. I hope that someday I can take them back home to see this in person. I was telling them how far away the parking lot is now from the foot of the glacier compared to 40 years ago; I wonder how much further the glacier will retreat by the time they see it in person?
To help the children understand the forces of glaciers, we took a walk to visit these glacial erratics that are clearly out of place. Whoever named these erratics had a sense of humour as they were nick-named the Wren’s Eggs, with the wren being one of the smallest birds of Ireland. These erratics are always an attraction for children who visit the area and is often the background for group photographs.
You can see the children here working on some of the worksheets that are provided and linked to the book. The program shows the books on the screen but the small print is difficult to see. Having to go back and forth between a physical book in front of you and the digital screen could be a little awkward, yet it would be nice to have a physical book to read on your own instead of having to sit at a computer, which adds options to your studies.
With interactive books you can take a child’s interest and go deeper into it as well, using these books as a starting point and moving on from there. I know my children are a little older and so were more drawn to the older book of Glaciers as there were more buttons for them to press and explore. As a homeschooling mom, I also preferred this book for all of the extra educational elements of it. But this being said, my 7-year-old did most prefer There Once Was a Cowpoke Who Swallowed an Ant because of the humour and because there wasn’t any ‘homework’ involved with it. These books could be good for those who are either not fans of reading on their own, or who are having a little trouble with reading. They can follow along while someone else reads to them and perhaps even increase their interest in books
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