In what I hope will be the first of a series on resources useful for home education, early learning, and supplementing school, I’m reviewing Magictown which is available either as a website or an app. Sadly the app is for Idevices only at this time, so I haven’t had the opportunity to explore it, though I understand there’s a new version out this week.
Magictown the website is a town full of books. These are books you and your children will recognise instantly. The website is free to use, though to get access to all the books you need to subscribe. We have a subscription, so I’m not entirely sure which stories are available free, though I know that you do get access to some.
Yesterday we enjoyed Elmer. It’s the pictures and the text from the book you’ll recognise. There are a number of different modes – smallest likes to watch, when the book is read to her and there are little animations of the familiar pictures. This is all in keeping with the original, so for example when Elmer sneaks away from the sleeping herd, he is animated tiptoeing away. I like the fact that the site keeps such a close contract with the stories, these are wonderful books and they don’t need much in the way of enhancement.
There are other modes. Explore is a discussion mode, where the child will need to answer a question before the story continues. The kind of thing that teachers and parents do naturally when we’re reading a story for the umpteenth time. You can use Play, where the story is narrated to you, or there’s Read Together where either you or your child can do the reading.
As well as the livebooks, there are games on site, and printable activities for download to keep the entertainment going.
The thing I like about Magictown is that it isn’t yet another learn to read site. This is about enjoying books, rather than being a phonics or teaching site. As such I think it’s a fabulous resource for enhancing a child’s experience of some really good books, and it’s all been done really sensitively. Well worth a look, there are free books so you can try before you buy as it were.
Love to hear from anyone who has experienced the app, let us know how that works for you.
Disclosure: I was given a subscription to the site so that I could review fully. Opinions are, as ever, my own.