Our boys have been improving there reading comprehension with the new interactive book, Orphs of the Woodlands at Tangletree, from Star Toaster. This is an app that is available for both the iPhone and iPad that run iOS 8.0 or later.
Essentially this is a reading app that is geared towards kids aged 9 – 11, but it offers so much more. This reading adventure is a story about a flying squirrel who cares for a group of orphaned woodland creatures called orphs. There is a total of 122 pages which is broken into 23 short chapters. Also included along your reading journey, you will find 75 lessons in math, language arts, science, life skills, thinking skills, character and the arts. To help test the skills the children have learnt, they are asked to perform a variety of jobs , 130 in total, to earn stars which they use to buy items to are for the baby orphs.
How did we go?
After downloading the app, we opened it up and added two students, which you can easily swap from each time you open the app.
Then it was onto the story. On opening this, you are introduced to the narrator of the story, the flying squirrel named Abba.
As you can see, the story starts on the first day of the flood where many little critters lose their homes and families. Your job is to help Abba rebuild the woodlands making sure that the Orphs have a place to live, fresh water and food.
Throughout the reading, you will come across words that are highlighted. When clicking these words, a pop up appear and your child is given a more detailed explanation on what these words meant help them understand the text better. Sometimes they are taken to a new page, depending on the vocabulary that are explaining. There is a variety of potentially difficult vocabulary including similes, compound words, homonyms and character building words (called learn to listen and listen to learn).
After reading a few pages of the story, your child is told that you need something to help the orphs, for example water or a type of food. In the picture below, they need strawberries and you need to gain 60 gold stars (in the bottom right hand corner) to get these strawberries.
There are a number of ways you can earn these gold stars. The numbers on the houses below show how many stars are available to be earned at each place.
In the picture below, you can see the variety of jobs that need to be completed to be rewarded the gold stars to buy the supplies needed.
An example of a question asked while completing a job is below. There is job training available for those who want to do that before completing the jobs. This will help your child understand what is going to be asked in the following questions.
Once you complete all your the jobs and collected all the required stars, you are able to continue on with the story. This continues all through the story, until the orphs have everything they need.
Our boys love this fun app. They have really enjoyed reading the story and love the variety of the learning activities they have had to complete to help the orphs. I really like the way they have incorporated the reading into the app so that the children don’t just spend all their time completing the jobs. They have to read the next passage to open the opportunity to complete more jobs.
Even though this app is suggest for ages 9 – 11, I could see many younger children that are able to read well, enjoying it as well. I would recommend this app to everyone, especially at the great price of $1.99!
The only thing I would suggest is having this app available on the android platform to allow more children to enjoy this exciting interactive book.
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