I LOVE to read. I read while traveling, waiting for appointments, while working out on the treadmill, while keeping my son company while he vests… I always carried books with me and for the past year and a half my Kindle has kept me entertained. Earlier this year I discovered an independent/self published author and went in search of more of her books and found a number of them on a website called http://www.textnovel.com/home.php
The site was intended for authors and readers to utilize cell phones and computers to read and write fiction. Textnovel runs contests for fiction writers, allowing them to demonstrate the market potential of their work through its unique serial publication and voting format.
Waiting for an appointment – whip out your cell phone and read a serialized novel for free. While I don’t have a smart phone, I have used the site via my desktop and iPad. Only issue I’ve had is when there are other individuals in the household who want to use the IPad to play games or watch netflicks, so my reading was interrupted and I had to page through book, which fortunately I had bookmarked, to locate where I’d left off.
Enter http://emobo.org/ an app designed to be used to access the textnovels via the iPad or a cell phone, similar to Ibook or the Kindle app. And the best part – the books are free!
My only issue so far is unlike the textnovel site, there isn’t the ability to search on eMobo by author. You either have to search by genre or title. I’ve solved that issue by going checking the author’s page on the textnovel site and noting items to read.
While Textnovel and eMobo aren’t going to replace my Kindle, I view it as being another tool in my reading toolbox.
Netflix on iPad(0)
In order to encourage compliance and considering the inordinate amount of time spent on vest and nebulizer treatments, we’ve always given our son a choice regarding how he spends that time. It’s HIS time, so no homework. Sometimes he’ll read, play Xbox 360 games, watch cartoons or DVDs on the television or play games on the iPad …
More recently he’s figured out Netflix instant streaming of movies and television shows on the iPad.
During the winter months, we tend to be homebodies and aren’t as apt to go out to catch a show. So we choose to watch movies in the comfort of our family room. We’ve had a Netflix membership for a number of years, though we much prefer the instant streaming to their DVD-rental by mail service, which has pretty much now gone by the wayside. For $7.99 a month we subscribe to Netflix and are able to watch various television series or movies on our televisions, computers and now the iPad. Streaming works great on the iPad, with crisp pictures, clear sound, and no stuttering provided a reliable Wi-Fi signal is near.
Our son straps on his vest, nebs, and headphones and away he goes. Currently he’s going through all the Rugrats cartoons and his 30 minute plus vest treatments have been filled with laughter or requests for us to watch with him.
While some people may balk at the Netflix subscription service price of $7.99 month, it’s money well spent for us. The NetflixAppfor iPad is available for free from the App Store on iPad or at www.itunes.com/appstore/
Apps for Practicing Spelling Words(4)
Apps for Practicing Spelling Words
Most of our second grader’s homework assignments have consisted of spelling and reading. Last year students were given numerous suggestions by their teachers regarding practicing weekly spelling words. Writing out each letter of each word in a different color, creating a pyramid for each word starting with all the letters at the bottom and removing a letter, or coming up with sentences for each word was very time consuming and stressful not only for our child who was just learning how to write, but for us as parents. During the week our evenings consisted of vest/neb treatments, dinner, homework and bedtime. Not really enough time to decompress from the day’s activities of school and work. Try telling a six or seven-year old that school is supposed to be fun when they’re being tortured for hours on end.
We found two apps to help practice spelling words that were fairly easy and helped to make learning fun.
ABC Magnetic Alphabet was the first one.
The goal is to drag letters, numbers and symbols from the bottom of the screen to spell out words. But unlike those magnets most families of small children seem to have on their refrigerators, each magnet can be used more than once. There are also funny figures, which can be used as well.
The other tool we use to practice spelling is Ultimate Hangman.
Our son loves this game because of the animation. There’s the doodle hangman theme in which with each misspelled letter, the figure on the hangman’s noose begins to come alive. And if he solves the word in the eleventh hour, special escape animations occur. There are also themes including a snowman that disappears as wrong letters are chosen and one of flowers with parts that fly away. Our bloodthirsty child prefers the hangman version. There is a free version of this app as well as the full version for 99 cents.
Our son is a second grader who also happens to have cystic fibrosis. He spends at least 90-120 minutes a day (or three, 30-minute plus sessions), strapped to his vest and nebulizer for chest physiotherapy to keep his lungs clear. During his treatment time, he’s allowed to do anything he wants to keep entertained – sometimes he watches cartoons or DVDs, reads or plays video games. We got him a gaming system at a young age, which was a godsend because instead of complaining about treatment times, he would actually ask to do his vest; however, due to the shaking vibrations, sometimes it’s difficult to be coordinated enough to play some of the more action oriented games, which can lead to frustration. Games are supposed to be fun, not torture as we’ve had to remind him.
Lately he’s taken to spending time on the Ipad. We’ve already incorporated apps such as the Magnetic Alphabet and Ultimate Hangman to help with his spelling words, as well as ABC tracer to help improve on his handwriting skills, but during treatment times, that’s HIS time. Angry Birds and all its variations are a favorite. More recently he’s discovered a game that not only lets him use his imagination, but is educational as well.
Scribblenauts is a remake of a popular children’s Nintendo DS game. The game play involves solving a series of open-ended cartoon puzzles typing descriptive words of whatever you want to add to your game. Unlike the Nintendo version, which involves a tiny screen and use of a stylus to create words, the Ipad screen is much larger and comes with a full-sized virtual keyboard.
The main character or Avatar is named Maxwell.
The tutorial has us start with tapping the notepad and typing ladder, which allows us to create a ladder for Maxwell to climb a cliff. After climbing the ladder, the tutorial instructs us to create a Pegasus for Maxwell to use to fly and reach the finish line. A few basic tasks to familiarize ourselves with the different game features.
Once you enter the game levels, each sublevel presents a unique situation which Maxwell must solve in order to retrieve the star and complete that level. You help Maxwell solve the problems using your imagination by typing different nouns (i.e. bridge, rope, bike, etc.) for him to use to get past the obstacles and reach the star and move on to another level. If you choose an object, Maxwell can grab it and use it – if it’s a person or animal, they have minds of their own and it can go one of two ways – they may help solve your problem for you or as in the case of giant zombies, they may just try and eat you. Type in Creepy Crawler and get a cross between an army tank with the face of a ghoul… As long as it’s not a copyrighted or vulgar word, the options are endless.
As with most games, the higher the levels get the more challenging they become. This game will make you think, learn to expand vocabulary, spell, use your imagination and it’s just plain fun at how many insane creations you can come up with.
And if we get stuck, we can shake the iPad like an Etch-A-Sketch and all the creations will cleanly poof out of existence, cleaning the slate for something new.