Axel’s Chain Reaction by Laura Allison Pomenta Badolato blew me away with its features, and it’s no surprise why. According to the iTunes Preview, the storybook app has won several awards such as The Parent’s Choice Golden Award and the App Circus Online Competition, and it is recommended by the National Science Teachers Association.
This week I reviewed five educational apps that help children explore language, culture, friendship, numbers, and much more. The apps originate from many places around the world, including England, Croatia and Jamaica. Yet each app engages children in its own unique way.
1. Aiden and the Apple Tree, A Jamaican story from author Johnathon A. Kelly, creator of The JuiceMan
Set in the Jamaican town of Little Patch, the story begins as a young boy named James is caught trying to steal a mango from the town’s JuiceMan. Instead of getting angry at James, the JuiceMan retells the story of Aiden, a boy from the village of Chewmagna, who tried to steal from an apple tree that belongs to his teacher, Mrs. Applebee. James learns that honesty and hard work are rewarded, but sneakiness and stealing lead to trouble.
The story of Aiden and the Apple Tree is a bit more complex than most storybook apps which makes it appropriate for children who are independent readers or prefer longer, more complex reading. However, the narration option makes it easy for younger children to enjoy the story as well.
The app includes a fifteen question reading comprehension quiz for the older children and coloring pages for children of all ages.
Note: iTunes lists Michelle Anaya as the seller for this app. I verified that the actual creator is Johnathon A. Kelly and holds the copyright for this app.Aiden and the Apple Tree is available on iTunes for $1.99. Ages 4 to 10.
If you’re a parent or teacher to pre-schoolers or beginning readers, you might want to check out Monster Jam. Created by Blue Sandpiper Imprints, Monster Jam is a storybook app for the iPad that combines early literacy skills with rocking tunes.
In this storybook app, the lead singer of the rock band Ground Hogs has lost her voice on the same day they have the performance of their lives. Young readers can follow along as the group of friendly monsters try to find a replacement singer in time for the big show.