Reading A-Z 5/17/12

Recently I had the pleasure of working with a Kindergarten teacher who was just learning how to use an iPad. I shared the resources I’ve gathered over time and when I asked “What areas of instruction could I search for apps?” she told me: Math, Phonemic Awareness and Site Words. When I started going through my ‘Reading’ folder I came across a free book. As I got to the end of the book I discovered it was a book from Reading A-Z. As I started looking into Reading A-Z some more I discovered that there are 17 free books in all.

Farm Animals

I Discovering Dinosaurs

Maria Counts Pumpkins

Riding with Rosa Parks

Bananas Sometimes

How Zebras Got Their Stripes

The Woodsy Jam Band

Introducing Planet Earth

The Sky is Falling

How to Make Lemonade

Making Pizza

Totem Poles

The Three Little Pigs

Three Pigs Wolf Story

A Seed Grows

Landon’s Pumpkins

Math Test Mix-Up

   

These aren’t books you purchase to read through iBooks; each book is an app in itself.  These ‘leveled’ books range from A to Z, just like their website name.  Each level is represented with a letter. Each letter represents a certain age range and criteria. The levels start at ages 4-6 (kindergarten) and end at 9-11 (Grade 5) For the complete correlation chart visit this link: Reading A-Z Correlation Chart.

Currently, iPad/iPhone apps have been created for letters A to P. The rest of the alphabet is yet to be released. There is one free book for each level so you can decide if you like their books. Additional books can be purchased separately, or as a complete library. Individual books are typically $.99 but the real deal is buying a full ‘level’ library. You get 12 books for $6.99 (one is free so you’re really paying for 11).

It’s easy to look at the full list of books before you buy so you can decide if the title will serve your educational needs. NOTE: These book purchases are separate from a subscription to Reading A-Z.com.  

The books are simple, don’t expect flashy animations or sound effects.  Function of the app is simple but may not be obvious. Depending on where you tap, the book will advance forward (tap the right side of the screen) display ‘word help’ for underlined words (tap in the center) or go backward (tap the left side of the screen). 

One criticism, and one complement, I have is in regards to ‘word help’ and ‘book talk’.  Word help, at the lowest levels, isn’t always a definition. The word help may give more insight to the underlined word, but doesn’t necessarily define the word.  Book talk, is great! Lower level books may have only one ‘prompt’ but most books have several. You can reflect, summarize and have a discussion immediately after reading the book with your class.

If you plan to download the 17 free books, type the entire book title followed by LAZ (Learning A-Z) in the app store. This will ensure you search goes directly to each free book.