We’re always lamenting as parents today that our children seem to be on devices too much, and that they don’t read as many real books anymore. I’m certainly approaching technology differently with Daniel this time, after seeing how quickly it entered William’s world. We’ll never stop their curiosity and they’ll always pester us for what they’ve seen at a friends or on TV, but we can be more choosy in the technology and apps we use.
In our house we have lots of books and we read every night together, it’s always a highlight and last night Phoebe read to me. It was amazing to hear her read to me with such competence and she even did different voices for different characters like I do. She’s doing well with her reading in school and is above the expected level for her age. William has not been left behind and is now on to chapter books. Daniel has his favourites too and will often drag a book in for us to read together.
This children’s book app I’m reviewing today is called Ebookadabra, a catchy title, available on iOs at the moment (Apple devices) but should be available on Android soon. The good news is that once you have downloaded it and signed up, you can use it on all devices, so you can have it on a phone and a tablet and your computer too.
What is Ebookadabra?
Ebookadabra is a children’s book app made by Moondog that has 100s of well known picture book titles at the touch of a button. It’s easy to find one they know and love or discover new ones. At the moment you can download Ebookadabra (no fee on download) and sign up for just 99p a month which is amazing value for the amount of books you get. As well as the books there are activities and games for them as a reward after reading the book. They can’t play the games until they’ve read a book, which I like. It’s similar in that way to one of the school computer systems they have. The Ebookadabra app is designed for children with a reading age of 3-7, so it’s perfect for Phoebe, and soon Daniel, but William is probably too old for it at nearly 8. He loved the features of it though and of course, the activities. The logo is bright,simple and shows what the app is about.
What is Ebookadabra like to use?
Once you’ve completed the simple sign up, take a note of your sign in details, particularly if you want to upload it onto another device. You can then make ‘folders’ for each child where they can choose a theme, and the finishing touch is they get to sign their name with their finger, making it really personal to them. All their books and achievements go in the folder. We had great fun personalising each one. There’s also a parents folder where you can keep track of the books they read and the settings. I think I was in a sombre mood when I picked this rather sad little dog for my avatar.
Then it’s time to choose a book, they’re laid out in rows and you swipe through them to find one you like. You can search by theme or for an individual title, or just browse until you find one you like. This took Phoebe about 2 seconds to choose, she’s very decisive. Once you’ve read it together or they’ve read it, it unlocks a ‘sticker’ for them as a reward and then they can choose to play the games. There are different ones to choose, like matching pairs, trace the letter and tile shuffle. There’s also the option for you to record yourself reading the story so they can have audio too. It’ll never replace the interaction between you, but when you need a distraction when you’re out or you want to keep them amused for 5 minutes while you get on with something, then this is a safe app you can use which will help with their education.
Any drawbacks with Ebookadabra?
The games seem to be geared towards the pre-school audience, Phoebe found them quite easy, but then there is the option to go up to three different levels, so we’ll be exploring them soon.
Summary of our thoughts of the Ebookadabra childrens book app
On the whole I love it – it’s one app that will stay on our phone for them to use. I like the fact they each have their own area to personalise and make their own. The choice of books is awesome, from well known classics like the hungry caterpillar to ones I’ve not seen before, there are so many to choose from. The read and reward system works really well, keep an eye on any older ones who can easily skip through to get to the games, but the games themselves are educational so it’s all good. I’d be more than happy for my children to use the app as part of their allocated screen time. As a new app, I was prepared for there to be some glitches, but it runs smoothly with no issues. It’s on offer for 99p a month at the moment, which stays at that price for the life of the app – after the offer runs out it’s going up to £5.99 a month, which is still far less than what a standard book costs, plus you get all the added extras. It’s available now to download from the App store.
Disclosure: we reviewed the app at no cost to us and I have been compensated for creating this review. All opinions are my own.