Mobile Education Store has been a treasure chest of great apps for learning language from Conversation Builder and Rainbow Sentences to Tense Builder and Story Builder, that engage kids with clever cartoons and break down language learning into kid-sized bites.
When they sent me their new app, “Crack The Books Seashores to Sea Floors” I was excited to enter this new world of ebooks and see how I might use them in speech therapy. Adaptable to 5 reading levels (first to eighth grade), these books provide the flexibility to be used with several children of different reading abilities simultaneously as they learn core science curriculum. Since I work with kids one-on-one, I will be seeing this new learning venue from the perspective of working with one child at a time but having the flexibility to put my iPad in my therapy bag and customize this book for different language levels. These interactive science books “are the ﬁrst standards based, core curriculum aligned digital book series that includes both interactive enhancements and universal design accessibility features.” according to Mobile Education Store’s website. They are designed with all students in mind, including those with special needs.
So far my students and I have spent the most time on chapters 1 through 3 of the five chapters: Marine Ecosystems, Open Ocean, The Deep Sea, Coastal Waters and Threats. Kids are tech saavy with tablets so they alternate between reading the text on the left side of the screen and scrolling down to change the corresponding image on the right side of the screen. Tap on a red highlighted word, phytoplankton or scavenger, and you hear the correct pronunciation, see it broken into syllables and get a quick definition. Kids loved this feature, especially hearing how to pronounce multisyllabic words. Tap on “Fun Fact” and learn about the deepest fish ever found in the Puerto Rico Trench. Videos, animations, globes and charts are found on the right side of the screen to support the text. When a new concept is introduced the students love to tap on “argonauta” (type of octopus), learn some fun facts about it and view a photograph alongside.
I used this e-book for my students working on language goals, word-finding and articulation carryover. Since kids were fascinated with the content, we would learn a few facts together about a fish, animal or parts of the ocean and then I would ask them to re-tell with their goals in mind. In the Open Ocean chapter we watched the video of the majestic albatross soaring through the air, and then used the content to work on producing grammatically correct sentences, elaborating adding detail and extending the length of our sentences. Polar bears and beluga whales were also favorite subjects in this chapter.
At the end of each chapter is the opportunity to take a test on the content of that chapter. Each question is complemented by an associated image. I never got to take such visually beautiful tests when I was in elementary and middle school! Educators can track progress to assess mastery of concepts and reading comprehension skills.
Chapter 3 was a favorite as kids loved looking through and operating the periscope. Hold the joystick down and slowly explore the ocean depth to 10,000 meters. Of course you have to switch on the light as you get deeper toward the ocean floor. Different sea animals are pictured according to the depth gauge. Kids liked learning about the turtle, swordfish and bluefin tuna but were most engaged with the more exotic fish like the anglerfish and fangtooth fish whose teeth are so large that when its jaw is closed the teeth slide into special pockets near its brain. One little boy chose that fish to describe for his mom at the end of our session, following his language goals. Did I say these were boys I was working with??
There are many more features to these multi-sensory e-books, listed on their website. I highly recommend “Sea Shores to Sea Floors” for its beautiful imagery, multi-sensory delivery and fascinating content. Since speech language pathologists are a clever and creative bunch, let me know how you use these ebooks with your kids!
Mobile Education Store has provided me with a free copy of “Seashores to Sea Floors” for one lucky reader!
The opinions expressesd above are solely those of the author. “Seashores to Sea Floors” was provided for review by Mobile Education Store.