Not Only Is It Friday, It’s “App-y Hour!” Berenstein Bears & The Big Spelling Bee

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It’s 5 o’clock somewhere.

It also means the weekend is here and time for some Saturday /Sunday R&R (readin and restin)

Jump Into A Book has been coming across many, many delightful children’s book apps and e-books lately so we’d like to start sharing those with our readers for a new Friday feature. We think reading apps and e-books are like a bridge for families to learn how to balance real books and e books and we firmly believe it is still completely possible to “jump into the pages” of a book, even when there’s no physical book present! The important part is in the READING and creating balance when we choose to use technology in our lives.  Another important thing before we dive into Appy-Hour is that you still take the time to sit down with your child and read together, whether it’s a book, an app, or a read aloud option. When children connect with an adult while doing something enjoyable, the habit sticks.

First up is Oceanhouse Media.

Oceanhouse Media, Inc. is a leading publisher of more than 230 apps for the mobile market. Apps are available for iOS (iPhone®, iPad®, iPod touch®), Android™, NOOK Tablets™, Kindle Fire™ and HP TouchPad™ devices. The company’s mantra is “Creativity with Purpose,” developing apps that uplift, educate and inspire. Based in Encinitas, California, Oceanhouse Media was founded in January 2009 by Michel Kripalani, a veteran of the video gaming industry.

I personally love OM Media. They’ve done a great job with their website as well as providing excellent teacher guides and endless book options. Their Featured App is from the wonderful and timeless Berenstain Bears series. New features only available in this interactive omBook include professional narration, background audio and enlarged artwork for each scene.

To promote reading in young children, individual words are highlighted as the story is read and words zoom up when pictures are touched. By combining the original text and artwork with features that entertain and promote reading, this omBook appeals to readers of all ages.

The Berenstain Bears
and the Big Spelling Bee

by Stan & Jan Berenstain
with Mike Berenstain

When it’s Spelling Bee time at Bear Country School, the pressure builds up and it’s hard to keep cool! Join Sister Bear (and Papa Bear) as they practice . . . and practice . . . and practice for the big day. But will all of this p-r-a-c-t-i-c-e take the fun out of spelling?

Recommended Ages: 4-8

Three ways to read this omBook (Oceanhouse Media digital book):

  • * “Read to Me” — listen to the narrated story with words highlighted as they are read
  • * “Read it Myself” — read the book in its traditional form
  • * “Auto Play” — plays like a movie, automatically reading and turning pages. Great for younger children!

Additional Features:

  • * Picture / Word association — words zoom up and are spoken when pictures are touched
  • * Individual words highlight and are read aloud when tapped
  • * Professional audio narration
  • * Custom background audio for each scene
  • * Pages pan & zoom to accentuate the beautiful, original art of the Berenstains
  • * This ‘Universal App’ is optimized for Retina displays and the iPad

Something To Do:

Here’s some other fun spelling ideas, games and links:

Spelling Bee Baseball: Help your child hit a home run with words!
Quiddler: The short word game.
Spelling Games from PBS Kids: Calliou, Clifford The Big Red Dog, and Super Why all get in on the action with fun on-line kids games.

Did You Know?

For our family, spelling always happened easier when hands and feet were in motion.

Use different mediums to help kids spell:

* Fill a tray with sand and with one finger spell the word. We  had a little rake at our house that the kids would use to “clear” the word in the sand once they spelled it correctly. They learned their words just so they could rake the sand.
* Shaving Cream Spelling : Let your child spray their words on a large tray or out in the driveway. It’s very messy but they remember their words.
* Chalk: Either blackboard chalk in a chalkboard or Sidewalk Chalk on pavement, both ways are fun ways to help kids learn.
 *The Letter Line:  Write the alphabet out on the driveway. As you call out each word, the child runs to each letter until they’ve spelled it out. It’s also a great way to learn a new word. I would call out each letter and once they got to the letter I would call out the next. We would do this 5 times in a row for each word. After we finished the spelling list, it was time to try a spelling solo flight.

 My greatest hope is to continue to be an advocate for reading, play, and education and providing resources to make that happen. Jump into a Book’s real mission is to inspire collaborative play and learning through reading.-Valarie Budayr