Monday, August 1, 2011

Reading to your child with your iPad- 2 Reviews- Kindle vs iBooks

Since the iPad came out, I’ve been waiting for children’s books to show up. There are so many possibilities to have easy access to amazing literature- all right in front of you.
I recently discovered two apps that would be akin a bedtime reading experience- Children’s stories on the Kindle app and Read & Listen books downloaded from iTunes into iBooks.

Kindle app- While visiting my brother up in Alaska, we took the whole gang- kids and all- on a back-woods cabin trip. We stayed for 3 days in a cabin that had no running water or electricity. I knew that we’d need some good books, but didn’t want the weight. So I opened up my kindle reader, which is my preferred reader for my bedtime stories, and searched for some kids books. There were several books available for cheap- older books that are now out of print and some titles I wasn’t familiar with. Of course I didn’t’ plan this until a few hours before we left, so I picked about 5 titles that looked promising and moved on. When it came time to actually pick a story to read… I was pretty disappointed. All the books were very text-heavy. Some of them had a few pictures, but the pictures seemed out of place within the app. The quality of the books also seemed to match the price. I ended up not reading ANY of them to the kides. Luckily I’d brought one book of poems as a back-up!
In short-
Pros- cheap
Cons- Felt just like the chapter books I read to myself. Not engaging enough for a kiddo

iBooks- I’ve looked into this app before. I haven’t been impressed with the selection, navigation, or prices as compared to my Kindle app. I didn’t even consider it when I was looking for children’s books. In fact the only reason I found any children’s book is because I was looking for an audio book for my son. I came across the “Read and Listen” collection on iTunes. I could download a short selection on each book I was interested in. The titles were generally ones I recognized (Fancy Nancy, Dr. Seuss…). This was promising. The books actually look like the printed book! On top of that, there is an option to have the story read aloud (the words highlight as you go). They can be set to automatically turn the pages, or wait for you to “turn the page.” These literally feel the same as reading the print versions of these. The only downfall is the price- generally the books felt like they might be the same price (or close) to the print versions. Ouch! I’ll definitely be choosing my titles carefully.
Pros- Looks and feels like the “real” book, option to have the story read aloud,
Cons- Higher price

Winner- iBooks- hands down