Friday, January 28, 2011

Mother Goose Nursery Rhymes Will Make Your Kids Read Like Crazy!

(This video clip from Goosed Up Rhymes shows the reading/hearing/seeing aspect of our iPad app)

I am not the first to say that there just aren't enough hours in the day to get everything done.  But, thanks to a program at my daughter's school, I am forced to sit down every evening and listen to her read for 30 minutes.  It's a wonderful way to relax and refocus at the end of a long day.  And now that she's in 3rd grade, we've begun to read "chapter books" which opens up a whole new world of literature.  But there are still nights where she'll go to her bookshelf and pull out the books from her "babyhood" that her dad and I read to her night after night, and she'll snuggle up with me, and we'll take turns reading aloud all the Mother Goose stories from beginning to end.  There must be some sort of shared memory we carry that makes these simple and strange stories so soothing and familiar.  And those first memories of being rocked and fed and sung to with the same lilting verses makes us want to pass them along to our own children.  I know that one of my first book purchases as an expectant mother was a collection of Nursery Rhymes and Children's Verses. 

When we first decided to create a children's reader app, Mother Goose was one of the first ideas we came up with.  We all ageed that just about everybody would want to share them with their children, and if we mixed them up with some funny games and cartoony animation, that might just give it the extra "oomph" it needed.  We pictured parents sitting down with their children and playing Goosed Up Rhymes over and over, first listening to Mother Goose narrating while the words are highlighted on the screen, then taking it to the next level: Dad reads it to Junior, Junior reads to Dad, and so on.  Now we are seeing that studies have shown that reading to our children (especially during the time when they are first learning to read) can have significant and long-term positive effects for our kids. 

Here are some of the highlights:
  • Reading will "pump up" your brain - the act of being read to gives children several different inputs to process; listening (auditory), seeing (visual), memory (storing it away and recognizing it again), sensory (touching).
  • Being read to makes you a better "listener" - and the act of listening helps early readers to recognize the building blocks of language, increase their vocabularies and make connections between written words and their pictoral meanings.
  • Reading helps children develop an understanding of phonics - phonemic awareness is the understanding that words are made up of distinct sounds which affect their meaning.  Rhymes are a perfect way to develop an understanding of how to link sounds to letters and use those letters to construct words.
  • Reading to preschoolers is a great way to get them ready for Kindergarten - children entering KG today are expected to already have an understanding of lower and upper case letters of the alphabet, basic shapes and colors and the ability to count to ten.  Reading children's books will help them acquire these skills.
  • The more the merrier - the more you read to your children (or with your children, depending on their age) the better reader they will become.  You can't start too soon, read early and often!
  • Reading to them now will help their performance at school - because nearly everything we do and are tested on in school involves reading, the better your reading skills, the better your grades.  Simple!
  • Reading will also help them make a living - for every year that a person spends reading, his/her lifetime earning potential increases considerably.  So, 20 minutes a day can actually make your child money in the long run.
  • Because it's just fun - because parents work hard and children do, too, it is a welcome relief to sit down to some good old-fashioned one-on-one time with your sons or daughters.
Happy reading!


Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Lovin' the snow!

Yes, I know that I am not known as a huge winter weather fan, but I can't help myself-it's so amazingly beautiful out there! Chicago always has been known for its prolonged arctic blasts, but this time, Winter really seems to be outdoing itself! And because it's super cold as well as snowy - I don't have any guilt about staying inside and cuddling up with a good book and a blanket and revisiting a passion from my youth, reading.  But this time around, reading with a twist; on the iPad.  Have you got one?  Neither do I, not officially.  But I am able to snag my hubbie's and enjoy browsing through the many mommy blogs and app review sites to find out what my next purchase will be...I can get away with it because I am handling the marketing campaign for his new children's interactive reader app for the iPad/iPhone (coming soon).  So, "market research" is my new favorite pasttime.   I thought that I would go ahead and share the fruits of my labors with you.  Cuz, one thing you learn when you start downloading apps from the AppStore is, you end up with a LOT of things that you never look at again.  And I don't know a whole lot of mommies out there who enjoy wasting money.    Some of the apps I am enjoying the most are children's books, and there are some Superstars within that category.  Maybe my list can help you avoid some of the stinkers, I didn't.  So, without further ado, may I present my first Top 4 list of 2011:

Kay's Top 4 (Best Children's Books for the iPad)
  1. Cozmo's Day Off - I love this because it's so fun!iPad Screenshot 1
  3. The Tale of Peter Rabbit (Pop Out) - It reminds me of when I was little
  4. Little Bella's I Close My Eyes - Perfect casting of the girl who narrates this storySS3-bella.App.jpg
  5. Miss Spider Bedtime Stories - I love the beautiful artwork in this oneMiss Spider’s Bedtime Stories Joins The iPad Lineup
So, grab your kids, your iPad, some hot cocoa and a blanket and enjoy the snow!