Thursday, February 10, 2011

iPad storybook apps

The other night I heard a story being replayed on NPR:

iPad Storybook Apps and the Kids Who Love Them

The writer reviewed a bunch of children's book apps, using his 3-year-old daughter as his "review partner."  These aren't ebooks, really, but individual apps that you download onto the iPad.  (I wonder if they have them for the iPhone, too?)  It sounds like they range from straightforward, ebook-like stories with text, illustrations, and maybe some animation, to highly interactive stories with puzzles and games.

I'm not sure how I feel about the interactive stuff.  It seems like it could attract a lot of the same concerns as TV and video games, except in this respect, it may actually be undermining kids' desire to read for the sake of reading.  I've always felt that TV and video games are dangerous because of how much less kids read when they have those options around, but these apps are different in that they may actually change what kids expect from story time.

I think this is much different than an ebook, even one on a color screen such as the Nook Color, because those behave like a regular book, with just the text and illustrations.  Whether it's presented on paper or on a screen, it's still a book.  Therefore I think I could happily share ebooks with my kids (hypothetically — I don't have any yet!), but I think I would hesitate to equate these interactive apps with story time.

I am curious about what others think.  Do you approve of these interactive storybook apps?  Disapprove?  Or maybe only like them as long as they are not presented as replacements for books?  I'd love to hear from parents as well as those without kids.

No comments: