This fun digital storybook under the category "Education" is interactive in a way that not only makes reading fun, but reinforces spelling, reading and sight words. The 'lettermen' themselves are simple but engaging cartoon letters with hands and feet. They are very appealing to kids and have great expressions that match the words they are forming on each page.
This tale has the 'lettermen' visiting a farm for the day. The narration, a British English speaker, is crisp and clear. The Lettermen was a series of books created in the late 1980's by Roger Knights. This book was published in print in 1993. According to the information page in the book, "It was never intended to be an educational system or a challenge to any established teaching methods, but both parents and teachers have found that the simple Lettermen stories are useful in showing children how letters form words and words have meanings."
This book has simple settings (tap on the bottom to see them). Page turning 'hands' appear in the upper right and left corners of each page. Tap on the middle 'hand' on the top of any page to trigger the interactive game. The child then needs to touch and drag the lettermen into the right order to spell the word(s) from the page. The word itself appears on the screen as a guide. A small hand on the bottom in the middle lets you quickly exit the game, although it is sometimes hard to see with all the letters bouncing about.
The controls, while plentiful, are very touchy. Once you and your child get used to them, this book series is a great edition to any educational e-library for young readers. Just avoid touching the little hands at the top and bottom of the page except when you want to start or end the spelling game on each page. These books are also plentiful and well priced - they have 12 books out now and more on their way to the Apple app store, plus plans for the Android market.
The spelling game portion of the app is a lot of fun and reinforces the storyline and a different word or phrase on each page. Touch and drag the letters and watch them bounce, but be aware that they are very difficult to get to 'stick' in the right spot. Even when I had them in the right order for a moment, one would spring away from the others. They click into place if you keep trying and when the whole word or phrase has been spelled properly, it says "well done" (spelled out in 'lettermen'). This could be improved with a future update to this otherwise great series of books.
Even without the game, this storybook is perfectly delightful as a standalone app book. And it's particularly nice looking on the iPad, which shows off the fun lettermen and their crazy expressions much better that the small screen ever could. The illustrations are engaging, enhance reading comprehension and recognition of 'sight' words.
[There are 12 apps currently available in this digital series and the youtube video below is of The Lettermen go to a party on iPad.]
All reviews are of the app, not the platform/device. Based originally on iPad versions. Minor technical details may vary.
SN Squared Limited
12 - 20 Minutes
Based on non-digital book: Yes
Allows Own Narration:
Uses Motion: No
Age: 3 - 6
The Lettermen spend the day on the farm in this tale about anthropomorphized letter-guys. The Lettermen have to GET UP early to do WORK on the farm. First they collect EGGS and MILK the cows. They love to taste the CREAM. At the pond they feed the ducks and a few lettermen get too close and end up getting WET. They then LOOK at the PIGS before going for a DRIVE on the tractor. They check on the horses, giving one a PAT before having a RIDE. Next they feed him HAY. Later that day, some of the lettermen get LOST, but thankfully they were over HERE where they could PLAY in the haystacks. For a snack they have BUNS and then the day is over.
[Words above in caps are also part of the spelling activity in the book.]