Sometimes I think it's strange to ponder how different it is for my kids growing up now than it was for me.
Whoa there, slow down, I'm not THAT old.
It's just that technology has come so far even in the past 20 years that things are really different. When I played games, they were made out of cardboard and paper and plastic and had pieces that moved, they weren't a cartridge that plugged into my TV. In school, when I wrote a paper, my bibliography was a list of books and articles that I used, not websites.
Remember those lined papers that we used to copy and practice our penmanship because it was important to be able to write legibly? Now there is widespread debate about whether cursive writing is even necessary because my kids are going to grow up doing everything on a computer. They won't write a letter, they'll email. Or text. Or use Twitter. Will I have to finally start using Facebook just so that I can keep up with what's going on in my girls' lives?
When I was young, my family spent countless hours at the library picking out books. This is something that my daughters and I do now and Big Sister E has followed in my footsteps and loves to read (Little Sister B likes books too, but she mostly just likes the feel of flipping the pages. Or chewing on the book jackets). Big Sister E can often be found pouring over the pictures in books, chatting nonstop about the story she sees in them. Every morning, every evening, before nap, after nap... books are a prominent feature in our house.
But really, how can books keep up with the changing of the times? With all of the new, interactive gadgets, how can books resist becoming obsolete to kids?
Meet Interactive Book-Webscene (IBW), a new kind of reading experience. These aren't just books. They are a storytelling process combining an actual print book with the interactivity of online animations. It's simple. You begin by reading a chapter from the book and at the end, you find a weblink. When you go online, you find a colorful animation, or other webscene (complete with sound), that is part of the story.
Not surprisingly, Big Sister E was seeming a little skeptical as to what was going on, mainly because I don't think we've ever sad down to read books together in front of the computer. But as soon as I got to the end of the first chapter and pulled up the webscene, she was hooked.
After viewing the scene, which we did MULTIPLE times, it was back to the book to read another chapter. There are at least six webscenes included in every IBW book and Big Sister E enjoyed every one. When we got to the end of our KA Reader (aimed at beginning readers and their development of vocabulary and comprehension), she was clamoring to begin again.
I eventually talked Big Sister E into moving on to our second book, a sample from IBW's Busy Preschoolers selections. These books are built around the letters of the alphabet and have step-by-step instructions for parents to help teach kids a ton of skills that they will use as they enter school. IBW knows that children have different learning styles, so their activities (such as the puzzle seen at left) use multiple approaches so that whether you have a visual, kinetic or auditory learner, any child will have a good experience.
Big Sister E wasn't completely sold on the activities that were suggested in our book, but again, when I went to the webscene, she perked right up. Even better than that, when we followed the link at the bottom, she loved the ABC-TRACE-123 handwriting program that we found. With each letter of the alphabet, she (with my help) was able to click and drag animal icons to fill in the letter, which she thought was great. I liked that she was having fun while also learning the correct way to write letters, something that she definitely doesn't know how to do.
By the time we were done with the ABC-TRACE-123 letters, Big Sister E was ready to go back to our KA Reader again. And again. And again.
Later in the day, she was still asking if we could read it a few more times. When my husband came home from work and she was telling him about our day, I asked if she could tell him about our new books. She was not only able to describe the entire storyline, but Big Sister E remembered all of the small details. Usually she retains the main ideas from a book that we read, but I was impressed at just how much she had learned. As well as the repetition, I think that because these books are interactive she paid closer attention to them.
Do you think IBW books sound like something you would enjoy and like to share with others (while making some extra money in the process)? Check out the IBW Bookseller program where you can find out how to sell these unique products and make a 20% commission on all sales at the close of each hosted event!
One lucky person will win their choice from two great IBW prizes:
The Busy Preschooler's Guide to Learning - fun activities built around the 26 letters of the alphabet, with step-by-step help to guide parents in how to use everyday situations to teach 105 skills their kids need before they walk in the kindergarten door.
Three KA Readers - beginning readers that use a new kind of storytelling where kids see an animation unfold at the close of every chapter. Dr. Seuss-like rhyming hooks kids on the fun of words. Online activities help parents assess a child's reading and comprehension.
Both of these prizes have a retail value of $60 and would be a wonderful way to keep the child(ren) in your life interested in reading... while secretly hiding their educational value in a whole bunch of fun!
To enter to win your choice of IBW prizes: Visit IBW and tell me what feature of their books is your favorite. Please do me the favor of leaving an email address or making absolutely sure it is visible in your profile. I have to have a way to contact the winner.
Extra Entries (available after the mandatory entry above is completed)
1 Extra Entry - Visit IBW Booksellers and tell me something interesting you learned there.
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2 Extra Entries (leave 2 separate comments) if you follow me on twitter and tweet about this giveaway (leave me the link). Feel free to copy and paste:
Make books comes alive! Interactive Book-Webscene #giveaway: win a choice of 2 great prizes! @thxmailcarrier http://bit.ly/4855at Ends 9/29
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Giveaway will end on September 29th at 11:59pm CST. The winner will be chosen by random.org and announced here as well as emailed. The winner will have 48 hours to contact me or respond to notification or a new winner will be chosen. Giveaway open to U.S. residents.
A big thank you to Mary at IBW for providing me with information and books to review as well as a great prize for one lucky giveaway winner. I was given the opportunity to review this product because of my membership at The Product Review Place.