Ladybird Publishing, a subsidiary of Penguin, recently launched an e-book application (app) for babies. While other major children’s publishers had previously launched apps for children, few were both suitable for babies, and available on all Apple devices, namely the iPad, iPhone and iPod.
Teachers of deaf and hard of hearing preschoolers at Clayton Elementary School, Delaware, have seen big advantages from using similar applications in preschool education systems. The school found the 2 to 5 year olds they teach, to be extremely tech-savvy and very able with electronic devices.
These children (while learning the Roman alphabet, numbers & rhymes) can learn to speak, read and hear; the possibilities are endless.
Literacy for deaf infants is the ability to read print. That’s written letters, for learning language, understanding new concepts and acquiring knowledge.
Recently, the ‘Baby Touch Peekaboo Series’ from Ladybird went digital for babies with four stories included. These apps are designed for babies to develop motor skills and attention span, regardless of their hearing ability.
Bold patterns and bright colours engage readers on themes of the sea, farms, animals and machinery. Once a baby taps the screen, ‘new’ images appear, similar to print books where a ‘new’ image is revealed under a flap.
Physical textures are replaced by animation, voice-overs, music and sound-effects in the digital-version of these books. The on-screen characters move slowly and gently to suit the tracking eye-movements of young infants.
Penguin admits that while technical and cost challenges remain in producing and marketing these apps, the end-product does engage babies and benefits each child’s early literacy and education, regardless of their hearing ability.
Parents and educators can also source the Ladybird ‘Baby Touch Peekaboo Series’ in print format. These books are highly educational for preschoolers and are available from Dublin City Council libraries and elsewhere.
(compiled by Nicola Fox)
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