Collins Big Cat Titles Using Apps To Help Kids Read
There’s a lot to like about these award-winning apps from Collins Big Cat (an imprint of Harper Collins Publishing, UK). To begin with, they’re free.
8 Different Collins Big Cat Titles
- Around the World
- At the Dump
- In the Garden
- It was a Cold, Dark Night
- The Farmer’s Lunch
- My Bike Ride
- The Steam Train
Apps that Support Early Readers
Each app is an interactive story where the child’s storytelling experience ranges from listening to a narration to independently reading and then on to creating a story of their own.
These apps are appropriate for different levels of reading readiness and ability. A pre-reader can listen to the story or have it read to them while watching highlighted text, which helps develop beginner word recognition skills. An early reader can read the story with interactive clues and guidance from the highlighted text, and even record themselves narrating.
Each screen contains hidden surprises activated by pressing on the (big cat) paw print.
There are three excellent value-add features. First, simple, practical reading tips are provided for parents to help their child read and interact with the story. Included are ideas for discussion before reading, specific-to-the-story strategies for helping a child who is struggling and extension activities such as retelling the story and answering questions in a short quiz.
Not only do these instructions allow the parent to assist their child to read the book, but by providing guidelines for comprehension, also ensure the child understands what they read.
The App helps kids write their own story!
The second feature which recommends these apps is that after reading the story, a child can write their own. It’s very easy to do. The interactive drop and drag elements such as scenes, characters and objects are based on the story just read. These newly created stories are digital books and a narration can be recorded. An older child could make a book to read with a younger sibling.
Thirdly, these apps can grow with a reader. Initially listening, then reading along followed by reading independently and ultimately transitioning to writing their own story.
In addition to the interactivity, these are wonderful stories. I loved the atmosphere of It’s a Cold Dark Night with the wind whistling, branches creaking and leaves swirling as hedgehog looks for a home. I also liked the way At the Dump encouraged young readers to think about recycling.
These high-quality early reading apps are a valuable resource for parents reading with young children.
Sandy Fussell is an IT Consultant and an award-winning author of books for young people. You can find her at www.sandyfussell.com and www.samuraikids.com. She is a passionate advocate for reading and children’s books and apps.