My Bookshelf

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Tools for the Listening Center: PicPocket Books

PicPocket books (various titles) by PicPocket Books, LLC
Some books available in Spanish and Dutch
Priced from $0.99 to $8.99
Designed for iPod, iPhone, and iPad (select titles)

Pic Pocket books provides storybook read alouds for preschool through elementary students.  Several children's titles are available from Mother Goose nursery rhymes to various picture books. Authors are not always well known but the quality of the books is decent nonetheless.

Like many of its counterparts, this app provides an oral rendition of a book narrated by an expressive storyteller.  In some of the texts, users have the option of following the highlighted text as it is being read.  Many of the books contain sound effects when the user touches part of the picture. For example, in Tractor Mac, when the reader touches the tractor, the engine sounds up; likewise, geese quack when pressed upon.

The Good:  This is a great app for teachers to use in a listening center or as part of the listening component to The Daily Five.  The fact that the books are available on an iTouch makes it even more appealing for my school district. We don't yet have funds to purchase iPads for each classroom, but we do have enough sets of iTouches available.  This app would be wonderful for teachers to use in lieu of the clunky, old fashioned listening centers that we currently have.  In some of the titles (Yum, Yum, Yum) the reader can control the page turning and in others (Sunny Bunnies) pages are turned automatically. I actually appreciated the ability for children to turn pages themselves as some kids need to spend more time processing pictures in order to construct meaning from the text.  

The pictures in each text are colorful and vibrant.  The Yum, Yum, Yum book was one of my favorites with its creepy yet grabbing claymation; kids will love the monsters. PicPocket also provides many nonfiction texts. Moreover, the narration is well done by theatrical readers. As an added bonus, several of the titles are also available in Spanish which is so important for our ELL students.

The Bad:  It would be helpful if all books had the option to disable (or enable) page turning.

I give this app Thumbs Up!

Blogger's Note:  Two of these texts were downloaded through promo codes available to reviewers of apps. 

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