I’m conducting a social experiment and I need your help. Do me a huge favor and go ask your kids if they’d rather get a book from the local library or a whole series of books from their iPad. I can wait, my daughter is trying to eat Lucky Charms with a baby spoon and it’s infinitely amusing.
Are you back yet? Good. Likely your kiddos told you that they would much prefer reading books on their iPad, because let’s face it: the iPad is slightly more awesome than the library (which, I might add, is awesome in its own right.) Between getting the kids out of the house in a timely manner to avoiding late fees or ripped pages, some days it’s just easier to forego the library altogether. That’s why I’m always excited to find a great library of children’s books that are available for download in the App Store.
Enter Read with Biff, Chip & Kipper – the UK’s most popular “home reading system”. There are a total of 6 levels in the system that start with early reading skills and go through the first years of school (around age 6 or so). Methods include phonics work, vocabulary building, and progression in difficulty; these methods have been so successful at teaching early readers that Biff, Chip & Kipper are used to teach reading in 80% of UK primary schools.
While the stories are steeped in reading skills, reading them on an iPad means kiddos can stay engaged using the tablet’s interactivity. Read-aloud modes means that even pre-readers can start to learn without having any reading skills. While the format has been updated to adapt to the 21st-century learner, the artwork and stories are still the same as the books that have a proven success track record and a ringing endorsement from schools not only in the UK but around the world.
What’s particularly nice about the system is that it provides helpful tips for parents to talk about the books off-screen. Each book encourages parents to talk about reading skills and storylines, and gives ideas on what kind of questions to ask kiddos to engage them further in the learning process.
The library app can be downloaded for free, and until June 12 you can buy all of the Level 1 books for free – which is a savings of around $30. Additional levels can be purchased as IAPs, and the whole system costs around $65 as a single download. Considering that I just spent 20 minutes trying to tape a library book back together, you might actually end up saving some real money with Biff, Chip and Kipper…