When I was too young to read on my own, mostly my mom or dad read to me. In today’s world of iPhones, iPads and other mobile devices, your device can read to your child as well as teach them new words, show how words are spelled and what those words sound like when spoken. The newest edition of the Berenstain Bear book family is called The Berenstain Bears’ Bedtime Battle. It comes in the form of an omBook, which is a media book that can be read on a digital device.
Downloading it was a little tricky for me – I’m clearly digitally challenged at times and user error is at fault. But once I figure it out, it was simple. I found the book on my iPhone without any problems and read it right away.
Not having any children of my own, I look at every child’s book I read through the eyes of a Montessori teacher. The new Berenstain Bear story’s plot is relatively similar to most of the others: Brother and Sister Bear cause some trouble and Mama and Papa Bear battle with them to go to bed.
What makes this story unique are the different ways that the story can be read. There are three options: 1) “Read to Me”; 2) “Read It Myself”; or 3) Auto Play. There are also background sounds throughout the story (e.g., the scene is of the Big Tree House at night and the background sounds are filled with crickets and birds chirping).
Read to Me allows the child to listen the story, read aloud by a narrator, and look at the page at his/her own pace. The words that are being read are highlighted in red and the child has the chance to touch different parts of the screen and a word will be read to them (e.g., the child touches a picture of the Big Tree House and the narrator says, “big tree house,” and the words “big tree house” pop out from the screen). When the child is ready to move to the next page, he/she swipes a finger across the screen and the page flips. This is a great option for a child who is starting out the reading process and understands how to use a mobile device.
Read It Myself allows the child to read the page him/herself. If a child doesn’t know a word, he/she can touch it and the narrator will say the word. The same features as Read to Me are included in this option so that the child can touch the screen and learn the words of the different things on the screen. This is a great option for a child who has a limited knowledge of reading and is learning how to read and write new words. The child must have a working knowledge of a mobile device.
Auto play is exactly that: the story is narrated aloud and the pages are turned for the child automatically. This is perfect for the much younger child who does not know how to read and is too small to use a mobile device on his/her own.
From the Montessori perspective, I like the independence that a child can have to learn to read using the OmBook. It offers a variety of different options for a child to read the story and is a great learning tool. However, it doesn’t offer parents and children the same bonding experience that a hardcover book might offer. It is an easy tool for a parent to hand over to their child when they need to be entertained on his/her own for a bit.
The Berenstain Bears’ Bedtime Battle is a great new option for parents to help their child learn to read and is another example of an entertaining Berenstain Bear family story.