When it comes to instilling a love for reading, poetry is just as beneficial for kids as storybooks. Poetry exposes children to the sounds and rhythms of a language, which is the foundation for reading. Furthermore, because poetry tends to be short and playful, it is easier for kids to grasp.
However, unlike storybooks, good poetry apps are hard to find on the App Store. Fortunately, today I have one to share with you: A Word’s a Bird.
A Word’s a Bird
A Word’s a Bird is a lovely app that introduces juniors to a collection of spring poems written by New York Times-honored children’s author Orel Protopopescu. There is a poem each for the months of April, May, and June, as well as a “Takeoff” poem that serves as an introduction to the app.
To start reading, simply tap on the name of a month on the home screen. The app will show you the selected poem against a beautifully animated background, and have a narrator gently recite it to you. You can also tap on the underlined words in the poem to bring up the glossary.
After you are done reading a poem, tapping on an area outside the poem window will dismiss it. The watercolor illustrations will come to life and invite you to interact with the scene.
In April you can compose simple tunes using a band of flowering shoots and have them recited by a family of ducklings. In May you can tap on a red cardinal to make him sing, and on the three closed peonies to reveal the bees inside: one sipping nectar, one sleeping, and one that waves “pollen dust slippers” before taking off. Finally, in June you can put wind in the sail of a boat that ferries a lovely pair of dogs across a pond, making the birds fly and the frogs jump into the water. You can also tap on the frogs to make them croak.
Parents Need to Know
A Word's a Bird is a lovely app which will appeal to a broad audience. Because the poems are fully narrated, young juniors who have not yet learned to read can still enjoy the app. On the other hand, the comprehensive glossary feature makes the app valuable for older kids. The app, in English and French, allows for a change of language with just a touch of a button on the welcome page.
In terms of safety, the app is free of ads, in-app purchases, or external links. It is straightforward and easy to use, so kids as young as three years old should be able to navigate their way through the app.
Things I Like
As a fan of book apps in general, I have to say that I am impressed by A Word’s a Bird. It's not every day we come across poetry apps, let alone poetry apps that are as polished and as memorable as this one.
All the poems included in the app are well-written and easy to memorize, which make them suitable for kids. I like how each poem includes a carefully selected set of glossaries, which not only explain what a specific word means but also how it fits into the context of the poem. This provides parents with the opportunity to discuss with their juniors what the poems mean.
Visually, the app is striking with its vibrant watercolor illustrations. A lot of work went into animating the scenes: Jeanne B. de Saint Marie, the illustrator, hand-painted over 800 different images for the app. And all that hard work doesn’t disappoint — this is one of the best-looking and most appealing apps I have seen in a while.
At this point, my only issue with the app is that I wish there were more poems. I think it would be great if we could have a poem for every month of the year, and I look forward to the release of other apps like these.
A Word’s a Bird is a blissful app that I thoroughly enjoyed. The app’s thoughtful rhymes and pleasant interactivity make rhymed metaphors accessible to everyone, and even the youngest of readers. I would highly recommend it for parents who want apps to encourage their kids to love reading.
Get it on the App Store: iPad
App was provided for our honest review.
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