November 22, 2011

Books vs. iPads

There's an article in the Globe and Mail that is very interesting and a bit disturbing. Headlined For some kids, a book is just an iPad that doesn't work, it discusses how book apps blur the line between books and games and how they may ruin the parent-child reading experience. Having interactive widgets can prevent children from turning the pages at their own pace and can make reading into an isolated activity rather than a shared one. This is especially true when it comes to picture books. Children like to comment on the pictures as they read, which often lead to interesting discussions with their parents.

The best apps are those that depart from the source material and can be enjoyed by both parents and children. A good example are the Stella and Sam apps. They are based more on the animated television series and are games, not books.

Another good app is Barnyard Dance by Sandra Boynton. With bouncy music and singsong narration, this is a very fun experience. Boynton's books have always been filled with movement and dance so it's great to see how well they adapt to being animated. In the app, you can fiddle with the cow, bow to the horses, twirl with the dog and promenade the animals two by two. It may even get kids interested in actual square dances!

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