Bob Books #2 - Reading Magic for iPad is an incredible app offering under the category Education. It is based on the print book series of the same name, created by Bobby Lynn Maslen and John Maslen in 1976. According to Wikipedia, "Author Bobby Lynn Maslen was involved in cooperative preschool education for nine years and then became a teacher of 3-5 year-olds at a private school in Portland, Oregon. It was there that she created the Bob Books."
The digital transformation of these titles is really amazing for children learning to read. The 'book' itself is more of a hybrid book/educational game. There are 12 pages with short statements using simple words. These sentences are a bit longer than in Book #1, with things like, "Ben got the egg from the hen." The images are at first just black and white line drawings. Tap on each word and the letters for that word appear like little game tiles.
If the child puts the letter tiles in the right places for each word, the image represented by that word animates briefly and fills in with color. Once all the words for that page have been assembled the whole picture fills with color and the scene animates for several seconds. The animations are not a big part of this book app overall, but they are very well done and were a significant feature that rewarded my child for working hard on learning the words in this book.
There are four levels in all and the book can be reset to start all over again. In level one you can simply 'drag & drop letters to match' the word while level two introduces 'left-to-right order'. Then level three has the child spell without visual hits before moving on to level four where there are no hints and extra letters that aren't part of the word. This 'book' is therefore not just an excellent educational title, but also a terrific value for parents, providing hours of learning & fun.
The illustrations are done by John Maslen, an award-winning watercolor painter and architect. The first Bob Books were actually individually hand-drawn. According to Wikipedia, "When it became too cumbersome to make books for each child, Bobby Lynn persuaded the school to print 300 copies. This eventually led to more sets, a cottage industry and self publishing." If you go to Amazon and look up "Bob Books" you will find hundreds of reviews for each set, with nearly 5-star perfect ratings. These print books retail for at least 10 dollars a piece and are a staple in print form for Montessori programs and home-schoolers.
It's rare that I find an iPad book that is so full of value. Like other Learning Touch titles, the BOB books are also very solidly made with nice intuitive controls & settings. If you have a young child learning to read and an iPad, you will not want to hesitate to download the BOB Books Reading Magic apps. I recommend them whole-heartedly!
All reviews are of the app, not the platform/device. Based originally on iPad versions. Minor technical details may vary.
Bobby Lynn Maslen/John Maslen
30 - 60 Minutes
Based on non-digital book: Yes
Allows Own Narration:
Uses Motion: No
Age: 3 - 6 +
The Bob Books are a series of children’s books designed to teach reading skills acquisition. With a foundation in phonics methods, each level addresses a single stage in a child’s reading development. This digital version for the iPad is geared toward teaching children and includes the following twelve sentences for children to learn the phonetics, spelling and meaning of written English words:
Mom, Pop and Peg had a hat. Pug was up on bob and Bet. Pog and Pip had big cars. Jip was Jan's pup. Rex sat on Max and the hat. The hen hid from Sox the fox. Ten kids hid in a big bag. Ann put six cats in the tub. Ned and Red got off the bus. Ben got the egg from the hen. Cat and Rat got in the car. The cat, dog, and pig ran.
Sets in the print series include: