Sylvan Dell Publishing produces what may very well be some of the loveliest children’s picture books in print today. Seamlessly fusing educational concepts in the fields of natural science and mathematics with beautiful illustrations and excellent prose, their team of talented authors and illustrators has already engendered a fledgling devotion to their publishing house in me.
More than worthy as standalone picture books, each title is also accompanied an array of free, downloadable educational resources, which include Teaching Activities and Interactive Math and Reading Comprehension Quizzes.
A relative newcomer to children’s publishing, company co-founders Lee and Donna German have lost no time jumping into the rapidly advancing technologies available for providing e-books to young learners. Recently, the company announced the launch of their next generation e-book that is taking the school system by storm.
Equipped with auto-flip and auto-read features, bi-lingual text, and audio (English and Spanish with more languages to come), Sylvan Dell is about to put the run to traditional book-and-tape listening centers. A child with access to an internet-equipped computer can read the new e-books silently, listen to a narrator read the book in a language of their choice while they ‘flip’ the pages with a click of the mouse, or listen and have the pages turn automatically,
The potential impact of these titles for teaching a second language, improving literacy skills, and retaining knowledge of mathematics and the natural world through narrative story lines is nothing short of impressive. With plans on the drawing board for further improvements the unfolding educational potential is inspiring.
Last year, Sylvan Dell awarded free e-book site licenses to over 2600 elementary and Title I/III schools nationwide through their School Resource Grant Program. It may only be a matter of time before titles such as Turtles in My Sandbox and Saturn for My Birthday are available on a school computer your child can access.
While this is an exciting development in and of itself, parents and home educators can also purchase these titles for use in the home. Better yet, Sylvan Dell has made their entire catalogue of 45 titles available for use during a free trial period extending to the end of October.
To take these titles for a spin follow this link and click the “Validate Access Code” button to see the entire listing of titles. Click on the image of the title you and your child would like to read, and you’re in. The e-book interface is very intuitive, but a user guide is also available for download here. This unprecedented free trial lasts until October 31st, 2009.
Still the market for hard copy picture books isn’t about to disappear – what can compare to gathering your children around on the couch, or snuggling deep under the covers with a story before bed? No need to fret, Sylvan Dell’s hardcover and paperback titles will thankfully still be available for tender moments such as these.
While I remain passionately dedicated to the printed word on tangible paper, I love the potential of this delivery system as an educational tool. Try it for yourself and see. Grab a child, a computer, and settle in for a session of enjoyable reading. If you like what you find, feel free to spread the word. The free trial link is non-exclusive and available for all who wish to experiment with the new format and dig into some great books. Thank you Sylvan Dell!