Reading a book to your child is an important part of his or her development. It not only advances the child on a social and emotional level, but also has a huge influence on his or her reading habits, passion for books, and literacy. A Recent study has shown that the decline in reading is affecting America’s culture, economy, and civic life as well as children’s educational achievement. This could mean that there is a direct connection between reading books, and the academic success of our children and their subsequent success as an adult. Personally, I just love that intimate moment between my son and me at story time. There is always magic and creativity in the air which makes for a beautiful bonding experience.
In the last few years, we’ve seen a growth in the frequency of adults reading to children. However, with the digital media now playing such a significant role in our lives, preschoolers are increasingly bombarded from all sides by fast and gripping stimuli, most often very superficial and barren of real value. Research shows that these stimuli induce shorter attention spans in children. So we see some light in the state of reading, but the outlook is not yet bright.
Touchscreens has become a very convenient way for us to consume media. It is very clear by now that our little ones are also attracted to these devices. It is so easy for them to use… They intuitively know what to do, and you see babies as young as 9 months old mastering the control over a touchscreen interface. That’s truly incredible.
With interactive storybooks we are embarking on a new era of ‘active learning’, i.e. learning through doing and not through being taught. This is very exciting for us to be in this field, since it is exactly these kinds of book that have what it takes to attract today’s children to enjoy story time once again.
Reading an interactive story book is nothing short of revolutionary. After hundreds of years of reading still, printed books, the interactive storybook touches on many more developmental aspects and uses many more kinds of engagement than the printed storybook.
Does this mean that storybook apps and picture book apps on touchscreen can actually replace the printed book? I do not think so nor hope so. However, I do think they can be an amazing addition to the printed kind and together they have the potential to bridge the increasing gap between kids and reading (the numbers are quite scary).
I hear and I forget. I see and I remember. I do and I understand.
-Ancient Chinese Proverb
Children are doers. They are explorers and makers. They fully experience their whole environments by holding, pushing, pulling, tweaking, and fully interacting with the things they come in contact with in order to understand the world in which they move through each day. They need to touch.
Children touch, feel, and play with their entire environment: the food they eat, the ground they walk on, and all their learning tools. Books are no exception.
Interactivity is nothing new in the world of books. As the publishing world has grown in the way of children’s materials over the years, more and more “touchable” books have found their way into the eager hands of little people waiting to explore them. A child can now readily find a book that will satisfy their need to touch. For now they can turn the pages with gusto, lift flaps, look in mirrors, feel a smooth, bumpy, or scratchy page, play peek-a-boo, and even zip zippers.
This kind of play is not only fun for a child’s growing mind and body, but truly and utterly essential. If a child’s mind is to grow to its full potential, the child must be given ample opportunity to explore her world in order to understand it.
A child needs to fully explore her world in all its wonder: to climb trees, to finger paint, to play in the mud, to practice and develop motor skills in big and small ways, to hear wide varieties of language and music, to listen and be listened to, and if new technologies are part of her, her family’s life, and that of her future, to explore them in ways that are developmentally appropriate.
Now, as new technologies are emerging, we find ourselves in the most fortunate time and place in history where children can touch books in ways they never have been able to before. With the latest in interactivity, such as iPhone and iPad apps for children, not only can a child read a story in a way that satisfies their need to touch, but their touches can now translate into the ability to control those stories: to enter characters, make them talk or sing, and even control the storyline.
We know that children learn by doing. With picking up, touching and truly interacting with the things, books and all, in their environment, children are able to most fully learn from them. In this way, they develop deeper understanding of their world. In turn, they can then take that understanding to other areas of their life so they can do, create, and interact even more as they grow. What an exciting time to be a child!
If you’ve so far put off getting your little one our first StoryBook “1 Little Boy” because you prefer getting a feel of things before buying them (we feel the same way about this), you can now try out our LITE version FOR FREE!
Really, I find it hard to believe you haven’t gotten it yet, but if you haven’t – I have no doubt you’d want to own the full version after you get a feel of the app with this Lite one.
Didn’t you find it frustrating, when searching for an app you’ve heard of or read about, to change your normal way, open a specific software (iTunes), which takes for ever to load, use the unfriendly search bar, only to find that the app you were actually looking for is hidden within the second page of the apps category? I know I found it frustrating many times!
Google to the rescue! our all-mighty internet supreme court, Google, has finally decided that buying apps for our iPhones and iPads is now an integral part of our lives… Nice! Moreover, Google’s decided to help us easily find that great app we’d heard about, hassle-free… Way to go Google!
To make the fun complete – this should also be possible outside of the US. Apple and Google, I hope you’re listening.
The bottom line, however, is clear – apps are here and they are here to stay!
Allright, it’s almost happening. We are soon launching Thumbelina.
Thumbelina is of course a classic story that everybody knows and when I first read it as a consideration for the Touchoo collection I thought to myself: “Was it always this scary?” She gets abducted by all kinds of big animals and almost trapped into marrying a scary mole. That’s when we knew we wanted to take the general idea of the classic story and make it into something new, something that our kids could read without having nightmares. So that is what we did and I am so proud of the result.
Thumbelina is also our first StoryBook App to be released with translations into Spanish, French, German, Italian, Hebrew, Chinese, Dutch and Japanese. I am excited to see how it is received outside of the US.
What makes the launch of Thumbelina even more special is that this is our first StoryBook App to be released on the iPad.
I really like the iPad: I love the design, the contrasts and colors are amazing, the user interface is very intuitive, the videos, the cool apps, games, the battery life that’s very decent… Should I go on? It seems like it really does have the potential to change our habits, and I can’t wait to see how this new technology is accepted by the world.
Of course it could never replace the real thing; could anything beat the smell of an actual book? The feel of it? Not for me! However, reading on the iPad can certainly add to the experience in many ways, and create a rich, exciting experience through a skillful application of interactivity.
Another amazing aspect is the friendliness to kids and to the environment: when walking past the school close to where I live the other day, I saw all those tiny little kids with their huge backpacks filled with books and I thought to myself “Go iPad!”
Let me know what you think of reading on the iPad versus reading a real book. I am very curious what your opinion is on the matter.
Remember, always feel free to spread the word about us and our upcoming release of Thumbelina, by directing your friends, colleagues, family, acquaintances and random relevant strangers to Touchoo, or share with them info about us through Facebook or Twitter.
Toddlers are at a stage where they are learning their language communication skills and experimenting with word meanings using visual and auditory senses. Reading to children while they are still in the 0-4 age range is critical in their overall development. Today there are many tools for toddlers to use such as interactive books or even computer programs with interactive stories.
Sitting down and having a toddler watch a parent as he/she reads to them is a classic approach. Bringing a story to life using hand gestures, voice, and facial expressions to spark the imagination, encourages creativity in children. This does not mean one has to completely dismiss the use of the interactive books available today. In fact, these tools with interactive stories can actually be helpful in giving the child a complete visual sense of the characters in them.
Toddlers have a very short attention span, and it takes great skill to keep them rooted to one spot for very long. For those new parents who think they have failed each time “junior’ disappears from view during storytelling, don’t fret about it. It’s a natural trait in children of this age group, which is why interactive books and interactive stories can be great in terms of keeping their attention for at least 30 minutes at a time before they move on to explore other attractive endeavors.
The bits and pieces of time that can be spent in exposing toddlers to language and reading material greatly improve the social and educational skills of the child. 1 By using interactive books or tools with interactive stories, the toddler improves his/her vocabulary and develops language comprehension long before he/she can even read a single word or sentence.
Reading words while pointing them out to the toddlers helps them to connect the sounds to words. Some interactive books actually have voice recordings that accompany them so that they can move step by step through the book along with the sounds they hear. Interactive stories can vary from voice taped whole stories, to simply pop-up pictures with large words along the bottom to help them with the visual connections.
The visual connection between sounds and words incorporates the identification of letters of the alphabet as well as number recognition. There are many interactive books that contain a complete set of interactive stories, building blocks with letters and numbers, or even push-button type devices that can keep many a toddler busy for long periods of time. Parents who wish to use these tools should take time to sit with the children and “play” with these devices to familiarize the toddler with association of words and numbers.
Another way to read to toddlers is to use the simpler interactive books that are packaged with little games. These games provide for more than 30 minutes of fun for both adult and toddler alike and can actually be an alternative to the more expensive computer programs that contain interactive stories.
The bonding time between parent and child is also an important aspect when a parent takes time to read to his/her child. 2 Toddlers are greedy for attention and need constant supervision. Reading to toddlers using interactive stories, no matter how short, is the most unforgettable experience because it was Dad or Mom who shared the moment. The story itself is long forgotten by the time they move on to the next toy, but the experience stays with them. As they progress, they will develop the habit of picking out interactive books on their own to bring forward to their parents to read to them.
Toddlers also like to have adventure in their lives, and when a parent reads from interactive books where the characters are interesting, they can actually pretend to be one of these characters. They can dress a toddler up like a pirate from one of the interactive stories they read together, and find hidden treasures in the kitchen cookie jar. This makes the whole experience all the more unforgettable, and the child’s creative nature is enhanced as well.
In an age where internet chat has become synonymous to the concept of “interactive” it is easy to overlook the simplicity of reading to toddlers the old fashioned way. With the availability of interactive books and tools that provide hundreds of interactive stories and games in one complete box, bonding time with the little ones can be forgotten. There is no replacement for the moments spent reading and learning with one’s child. The experience is more valuable than all the expensive gadgets money can buy.
We’ve decided to honor and promote children’s books of all times, and so, we thought of starting a little quiz, a competition if you will…
Can you remember your favorite childhood books by heart? Really? Well, let’s put your amazing kids’ literature knowledge to the test, shall we?
Three times a month we will be posting “The Question of the Week” here on our blog, on our Facebook page and on Twitter. The question will involve one of the classics and hopefully, spark a lot of good childhood memories. If you get the answer right, you’ll have a chance to win a cool prize – just for the fun of it: a promo code for our wonderful interactive StoryBook App “1 Little Boy”.
Wait, there’s more! Once a month, one lucky person will win a $20 iTunes giftcard by completing a Crazy Kid’s Book Competition Task!
We’re kicking off both The Question of the Week and the Crazy Kid’s Book Competition Task around the same book. The question is:
How does Max conquer The Wild Things?
And now – the Task: act out the way Max conquers The Wild Things on video! Simply submit a video as a comment to this blog post. It’s very easy.
At the end of the month the video with the most “likes” will be announced the Crazy Winner! That great video will win the glorious $20 iTunes giftcard!
We are so excited to see what you guys will come up with!
Such a proud moment! Our new demo for our latest StoryBook App is running on YouTube.
Thumbelina will be released soon with a very special introduction price. So stay closely tuned or just click here to become a friend of Touchoo and you will be one of the first to know when Thumbelina appears on the App Store.
So, what do you think of it? I am excited to hear your response!
Building a company from the ground up is exciting, fun and hard work. But I have to say that now that we have launched our website and 1 Little Boy is on the App Store – slowly but surely spreading its magic ,it is double the fun!
The work becomes much more tangible when you’re getting feedback from the audience it was intended for in the first place, so please – keep it coming, as it helps us improve and keeps us going.
We’ve also been getting some great feedback from the reviewers: one of the reviews that really made me blush with excitement was the one we got from GiggleApps! It feels great to be appreciated. Another review that made my heart go ticky tick is one we just received today from USAToday. In their review they named us as one of the best storybook apps! You can read it here.
On another note, did you hear about the big Children’s book fair in Bologna? It’s the most important international event dedicated to the children’s publishing and multimedia industry. It starts on Tuesday the 23rd and I would love to hear from anyone who is going how it was.