PlayTales is a highly functional mobile collection of audiobooks for iOS and Android. The stories tend to be interactive, involving users in the story. Also available are puzzles, singalongs and coloring activities. However, the free version of the app is fairly limiting, allowing only three trials of each activity. New books are added every week, each one available in 8 different languages. The PlayTales bookstore provides a safe environment for young users to find books suited for them. Users have the option to turn on narration, if they are not yet strong readers. They app helps to educate young readers as well as inspire them, as the lively tales range from classics like the Ugly Ducking to more personalized stories. It is similar in design to Read Me Stories, only PlayTales has a few extra features for children to engage with if they need to take a break from reading. Because of its cartoonish graphics and innocent content, PlayTales is recommended for children ages 4-12.
Recalling and retaining information in our mind while working.
When users read selections from the PlayTales library, they have the option to have stories narrated to them. This way, they can read the text as the story is being dictated. Because users are getting the information from an audio and visual source, they are more likely to find deeper meaning in the story. For example, when reading Shakespearian plays, readers sometimes struggle to find the humor in them. However if they see a dramatic production and follow along with the text, readers will understand the Bard's work on a whole new level. The same goes for PlayTales, an app that fosters reading comprehension, allowing users to not only delve deeper into the characters and plot, but the opportunity to absorb and retain new vocabulary, phonics, and analytic skills that they can apply into the classroom setting.
Getting started and then maintaining attention and effort to tasks.
While it is true that reading is activity that requires a strong sense of goal-directed persistence -- a key facet of the Focus thinking skill -- PlayTales has other features that tests users' focus. There are puzzle games in which users must fit matching pieces into an existing template, using their problem solving skills and strict attention to detail to correctly place the pieces. A coloring game forces users to color within the lines, helping them to master spacial awareness skills, as well as coordination if they want to make a good picture. There is a sing-a-long game as well. Here users must quickly read words as they cross the screen, while keeping in time with the melody. While they will not be penalized for missing words, they may lose their place in the song if they are unable to follow along. In order to read and sing simultaneously, users need to master multi-tasking skills, in which each facility works independently from the other one.
PlayTales is a great way for younger users to get interested in reading outside of the classroom. Often it is not what they read in school that generates their interest in reading, but what they are affected by after the school day ends. Using an mobile app in a relaxed environment can ease the stress of reading, which is product of having a time limit. When users are at ease, they are able to take their time to absorb what it is the narrative is trying to say. Reading is an activity that should be enjoyed, and PlayTales works to introduce younger readers to that very concept.
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