ReadAskChat by ReadAskChat, Ltd. – Review



Art for “Light of Mine” (c) 2012 by Christopher Lyles

What we love…

fantastic app that encourages parents and caregivers to read with children featuring a library of curated stories, conversation starters and bright colorful artwork.  I loved that we were able to carry over and do activities after learning about them during our daily lives like stomping, slipping, sliding and being more observant

What we’d love to see…

parental lock of some sort on the cog wheel – there are no external links but my son liked to tap on it.  I would also like to see a bigger parent’s resource section included – there are a number of resources on the web but not integrated within the app.

Summary

Beautifully illustrated app that encourages active reading via the story by asking questions, making observations and learning.  Kids can also tie it to real life and role play the stories.

Our Rating

ReadAskChat is a curated library of stories designed for children from six months to age 4.  The stories feature bright artwork, text and parental cues to help parents read with their children.  I still remember the first time I sat in the rocker with my then infant son and held a black and white board book to read with him.  I felt unprepared, because I wasn’t sure how I was supposed to read with him or help him learn.   You can read our interview with co-founders Alice and Carolyn to learn more about the reasons on why ReadAskChat was created.  You can also read a paper about the science behind ReadAskChat.  This app takes it beyond your device or tablet and encourages interactive reading using conversation starters to help kids engage and learn.  Key concepts in the app include rhyming, patterning, early academics like colors, shapes, early sight words along with math and science concepts.

As I have gotten to be a mom of two – reading with my kids has gotten easier.  They both know when it’s bedtime – we have 15-30 minutes depending on the day that we sit, snuggle and look at books.  We practice things like how to hold the book, turning pages from front to back as well as moving with the text via songs, pointing to objects and just handling a book.  In this digital age, it’s also important to consider that books are available on tablets, smartphones and other devices meaning that downtime doesn’t just have to mean that your child “plays” on your phone — you can turn it into educational time.

Here’s a snippet from Carolyn about the idea behind ReadAskChat

 The inspiration for ReadAskChat comes from personal experience. My husband and I are adoptive parents, and when our daughter Jiji came home at 9 months, she was clinically failure to thrive. She couldn’t hold her little head up or babble, or reach for shiny objects—things that 9-month-olds should be doing. But after only one month of reading picture books, singing songs, playing and snuggling, and “chatting” about anything and everything, Jiji was a fully caught up and happy 10-month-old.

When we read using my tablet or smartphone – one of the first things I do is to turn on the “night shift mode” which changes colors to be more easy on your eyes and less stimulating for children.  I also love that the app can change depending on which child I am reading with – meaning I can choose prompts for my toddler or my older son while reading the same story.  When you open the app, there are three free stories that are included in the library.  Additional stories are available for purchase.  Each story includes “conversation starters” – these are based on the developmental level of your child and can range from suggesting you bounce your baby in time with the rhythm of the story or music to questions you can ask your kids to prompt them to engage more with the story.

iPad Screenshot 1

Using your device, you login to the app to access the library.  For purposes of the review I was given access to the full library of stories.  When you use the app for the first time on your device or a new device you are prompted to download the stories.  The Starter Pack includes, “Light of Mine”, “Animal Tails” and “The Old Man in the Tree”.  In the subscription based version other stories are categorized by Big Ideas, Special Friends, Indoor Mischief, On The Move, Action Rhymes, Math Stories, Science Stories.  You also choose the developmental level for the conversation starters.  They range from baby (six to 18 months);  toddler (12-24 months); preschooler (2 -4 years).  As we have gotten more familiar with the stories we have recently changed from toddler to preschooler level to help him continue to follow along and be engaged.

“Mario’s Trucks” illustrated by Hyewon Yum

My toddler aged son loves anything to do with cars and trucks and things that go.  We typically let him pick a story and then I choose one.  One of his favorites is Mario’s Trucks – which includes descriptive text like “Raise that Shovel!  Dig that hole”.  I typically read to him and then we talk about what we see in the photo – things like a yellow dump truck, a hard hat that Mario is wearing, a yellow digger and blocks and a crane.  The conversation starters also encourage parents to add the sounds to the story and then the “ask” which encourages kids to think about what the truck does – my toddler answered carries and dumps.    You are also prompted as you read to chat about what Mario might be building – my son said “tower”.  We talked about it being a construction site on the first page.  I also loved using the app to guide off-device play where we re-enacted specific stories that my son identified with.  The illustrations in the app are beautiful and encourage kids to look and pay attention to details.  The stories appeal to children and are not too overwhelming in terms of new information that is shared on a page.  They also gently encourage sleep or relaxation at the end.  At the end of the story you can either slide to the next story or close out of the app.

I loved the wide variety of content that was included in the app and that my son was engaged and learning from stories – which we could look at no matter where we were at a point in time.  I actually found myself reading more with my son because I could pull out my iPhone or tablet while we were waiting for appointments or had short periods of downtime.  He loved tapping on the screen to show me what he was seeing – and I liked hearing what he saw in the photos and engaged.  Both of us became more engaged with stories – rather than him sitting in my lap passively to hear a story.  In addition, I recently read to my son’s classroom  and used ReadAskChat along with a software which was able to reflect my screen onto a whiteboard so that the group of kids could participate.  Although the app is designed for more 1:1 or 1:2 use it was fun to use in a class because it encouraged open ended conversations and allowed kids to really engage with the story.  As kids get bigger you can encourage them to help swipe and actively pick out sight words, look at the images within the stories and pick out specific details or even find an object or color within the image.  With my son as we read the stories and he’s become more familiar – we now sometimes play “I spy” to see the details that we might have previously missed.  One of the other things that I really enjoyed was the conversation starters to help me encourage my son to better engage with the story.  Another feature I liked was the “swipe lock” which made it so my son couldn’t accidentally move forward beyond pages that I wanted him to be on.   The app also lets you favorite stories using a heart at the bottom – my son quickly learned about this and we picked out his favorites and then we were able to scan for the hearts when picking a bedtime story.  I also really liked the descriptive words used within the app to tell a story which tied to the picture.  Words like  “slip and glide” for my son were new – so we actually practiced them by sliding our feet on the rug.

In terms of enhancements – I would love to see a section for parents to understand more about reading with their children as well as the importance. I found a number of resources on the website for Readaskchat – but they were not referenced when we used the app.  It would also be nice if the cog wheel at the top were parental gated – there are no external links but my son recognized this from other apps and wanted to touch it.

Overall, this is an app that is unique in that it actively encourages parents to teach their children while reading.  My son loved sitting on my lap and engaging – rather than passively listening to a story.  Since then I’ve noticed that when we read board books or bedtime stories he looks at the picture and we read and talk about them more – for example, find the green wall or white bunny rather than just reading the text as a more rote method of learning.

Pricing: Launch sale through December 25, 2017: Only $14.99 for the full library for one year.

LAUNCH SALE through December 25, 2017
$1.99/month
$14.99/year (which comes to $1.25/month)

AFTER DECEMBER 25
$2.99/month
$29.99/year (which comes to $2.50/month)

**Subscribers receive a new story pack (3 selections) bimonthly in 2018.

Note: Bulk rates are available for institutions.

NOTE: This app has in-app purchases

ReadAskChat for Children 0-4 ReadAskChat for Children 0-4 by Read, Ask, Chat, Ltd.

Price: $FREE

This beautifully illustrated library includes on-demand guidance for parents in reading interactively—the tried-and-true way to foster school readiness and love of learning. Subscribers receive new .

NOTE: A fee was received to expedite this review to the top of our waiting list but this payment has not influenced the objectivity of the review and all opinions have been offered honestly.

Want to win a copy? Simply enter using our Rafflecopter widget below. Must have an iTunes account and download a free copy of ReadAskChat. Open worldwide to everyone.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Alison, the American iMum is from Massachusetts. She lives there with her two sons and husband. In their spare time, they enjoy playing outside, enjoying nature and of course testing apps and fantastic products on their devices. My older son loves technology and loves testing out the “latest and newest” apps and tech. I love sharing information about apps and products with others to help them make decisions without feeling overwhelmed with all of the choices.

Date Wheel Date Calculator by Creative Algorithms – Review


What we love…

super easy to use date calculator that lets you countdown to dates; figure out when follow up appointments should be and more!

What we’d love to see…

ability to integrate with iOS calendar; calculate by years as a countdown

Summary

Overall this is an easy to use date app which helps you calculate the time from period in a variety of ways.  It does include a “rate this app” in iTunes link but because it’s primarily for parent’s this isn’t a problem.

Our Rating

Date Wheel date calculator  Date Wheel by Creative Algorithms is a great app that lets you calculate from one date to another using business days, weeks, months and regular days.  It has made scheduling my life as a mom so much easier.  The app is very straightforward and easy to use and it easily calculates date duration without complicated math or even having to look at a calendar!   How many times have you stood looking at a calendar trying to figure out when you need to follow up with your kids doctor or schedule your next haircut?  Other apps by Creative Algorithms include Recipe Manager which I love to use near the holidays.

To use the app, first you click on the start date – this can be a date you can enter or you can click the button for “today”. From there you set the duration and pick the type of duration it is ranging from months, weeks, days or business days. The app will fill in the end date for you at the bottom.  Alternatively, you can fill in the start date and end date and it will tell you the duration in between – we used this as part of a back to school countdown for my kids. I can tell you how many times I have stood at the counter of my kids doctors waiting for them to schedule a follow up appointment in X weeks.  Schedulers will often say the doctor has availability at X and I usually took it at face value because I wasn’t doing the calculating at the moment – now with a quick date entry I can figure out the number of weeks and if the date is in the ballpark.  We also used the app to count down to the solar eclipse that recently occurred near us.

iPhone Screenshot 4I really like how easy the app is to use – and the flexibility of the app.  Being able to calculate by months, weeks and days is how I normally use it the app.  You can also use it for project planning as well.  At the bottom you can save and have a number of date trackers running all at the same time should you be using it to track milestones or you can simply use it and not save it.

My son used it this summer to track the number of days he had left in his summer reading program.  He also used it to count down to the end of the summer and plan for us to buy school supplies.  You can easily enable or disable sound as well as have the end date included.  You can also easily keep track of calculations by clicking hte list in the lower right hand corner.  Other ideas include: when to schedule your next dental cleaning or haircut; count down to important days; and even calculate when an item will arrive.  I also like the lock function so you can lock things like the start date, duration and end date.

In terms of improvements, I would like to be able to calculate by years in a future update.  Another would be integration with the iOS or Android calendar to remind me that I need to do x task in the future.

Overall this is an easy to use date app. It does include a “rate this app” in iTunes link but because it’s primarily for parent’s this isn’t a problem.  Under the “i” there are online links including Facebook, Twitter and various contact me items.   If you want to try before you buy, you can test it on the web.  You can also check out some other great productivity apps on our site!


Date Wheel date calculator Date Wheel date calculator by Creative Algorithms

Price: $2.99 USD

Date Wheel™ is an award-winning date calculator that calculates time between two dates in months, weeks, days, & business days. ● Save calculations for future reference. ● Countdown to an important.

Alison, the American iMum is from Massachusetts. She lives there with her two sons and husband. In their spare time, they enjoy playing outside, enjoying nature and of course testing apps and fantastic products on their devices. My older son loves technology and loves testing out the “latest and newest” apps and tech. I love sharing information about apps and products with others to help them make decisions without feeling overwhelmed with all of the choices.


Learner Mosaic by Kidaptive – Review



iPhone Screenshot 2

What we love…

lots of great activities to work with children including “support their interest”; skill improvement, and most of all celebrate learning.  Loved all the suggestions of activities to work with him

What we’d love to see…

ability to email activities and supplies listing; better scaling on iPad

Summary

Among apps that you have installed on your devices, I highly recommend Learner Mosaic as one that you install.  The information that you learn from the app will help you and your younger (toddler/preschool/early elementary school) aged children with a number of foundational skills important for early learning.  This MUST HAVE free app will have you checking in on it to see what other great activities are suggested to work on with your child.

Our Rating

Learner MosaicLearner Mosaic by Kidaptive is an app for iPhone from the maker’s of Leo’s Pad designed with free content designed to help you teach your child in non-traditional ways early learning skills such as turn taking, critical thinking, social development and more.  The app requires you to create a free account and then create a profile for each of the learners.  You answer a few short questions for each learner and then the app provides targeted suggestions based on your answers along with video’s from child learning experts .  For this app, I tested out at least three activities in each of the categories with my son.  Some of the activities were a bit basic for him as it is aimed at preschool aged children and he’s in kindergarten but we really enjoyed spending time together and trying them all out.

The goals that were provided and targeted for each of the profiles I put together.  They ranged from “supporting their interest”; “help them improve skills”, “foster interests” to celebrate learning. Each of the items had focus areas where you picked skills including: social emotional, thinking, physical skills (included motor, speech/language, independence) , knowledge/understanding, creative skills (my son’s favorite) and each week provided new activity suggestions each week which allows you to build upon the app as each area is mastered plus provides great ideas on how to focus on key skills.  each of the activities had a listing of materials, steps, what behaviors to watch for in an activity , estimated time of completion as well as information on why the activity mattered.    As each activity is completed it shows it on a task listing as well as tips from each completed activity.

iPhone Screenshot 3I really liked that the app is constantly coming up with new ideas of activities to do with my son and providing me with a reminder to check in on the app to see what new content is available.  The videos contained within the app were professionally done and I really liked the suggestions that were made to help me work with my son based on his interests.  We even took some of the activities to a level further such as his interest in science and did activities that dived into the topic further.  The app also interfaces with Leo’s Pad (another FREE app from Kidaptive) and provides reporting information into the parent dashboard.  As I continue to explore the app, the more content I am finding that will help my son with key learning skills important to his future.  I also liked that the information translates across multiple devices.  It was helpful for me to see for example that my son might be holding his pencil wrong and that the app gave me steps to help him hold it in a more age appropriate manner.  It was also fantastic that the app provided both on and off tablet examples of activities to work on such as the proper steps to holding a book, pre-reading skills and the like.

I would love to see a version of the app more scaled for the iPad.  Currently I use it on my iPhone but on my iPad it feels like it doesn’t take advantage of the space as well as it could.  I would also like a way to more easily export the activities as there were times I needed supplies that I didn’t have at home and wanted to make a list of what I needed to obtain.  The email button to send out information via email does not always work – right now it re-directs to the website but doesn’t always find content.

Among apps that you have installed on your devices, I highly recommend Learner Mosaic as one that you install.  The information that you learn from the app will help you and your younger (toddler/preschool/early elementary school) aged children with a number of foundational skills important for early learning.  This MUST HAVE free app will have you checking in on it to see what other great activities are suggested to work on with your child.

Learner Mosaic
Learner Mosaic
by Kidaptive Inc.

Category: Education, Lifestyle
Requirements: Compatible with iPhone4-iPhone4, iPad2Wifi-iPad2Wifi, iPad23G-iPad23G, iPhone4S-iPhone4S, iPadThirdGen-iPadThirdGen, iPadThirdGen4G-iPadThirdGen4G, iPhone5-iPhone5, iPodTouchFifthGen-iPodTouchFifthGen, iPadFourthGen-iPadFourthGen, iPadFourthGen4G-iPadFourthGen4G, iPadMini-iPadMini, iPadMini4G-iPadMini4G, iPhone5c-iPhone5c, iPhone5s-iPhone5s, iPadAir-iPadAir, iPadAirCellular-iPadAirCellular, iPadMiniRetina-iPadMiniRetina, iPadMiniRetinaCellular-iPadMiniRetinaCellular, iPhone6-iPhone6, iPhone6Plus-iPhone6Plus, iPadAir2-iPadAir2, iPadAir2Cellular-iPadAir2Cellular, iPadMini3-iPadMini3, iPadMini3Cellular-iPadMini3Cellular, iPodTouchSixthGen-iPodTouchSixthGen, iPhone6s-iPhone6s, iPhone6sPlus-iPhone6sPlus, iPadMini4-iPadMini4, iPadMini4Cellular-iPadMini4Cellular, iPadPro-iPadPro, iPadProCellular-iPadProCellular, iPadPro97-iPadPro97, iPadPro97Cellular-iPadPro97Cellular, iPhoneSE-iPhoneSE, iPhone7-iPhone7, iPhone7Plus-iPhone7Plus, iPad611-iPad611, iPad612-iPad612, iPad71-iPad71, iPad72-iPad72, iPad73-iPad73, iPad74-iPad74, iPhone8-iPhone8, iPhone8Plus-iPhone8Plus, iPhoneX-iPhoneX
Size: 37.32 MB

$FREE

Screenshots
(Click to enlarge)

NOTE: A fee was received to expedite this review to the top of our waiting list but this payment has not influenced the objectivity of the review and all opinions have been offered honestly.

Alison, the American iMum is from Massachusetts. She lives there with her two sons and husband. In their spare time, they enjoy playing outside, enjoying nature and of course testing apps and fantastic products on their devices. My older son loves technology and loves testing out the “latest and newest” apps and tech. I love sharing information about apps and products with others to help them make decisions without feeling overwhelmed with all of the choices.


Totally Pregnant by 40weeks – Review



iPhone Screenshot 1

What we love…

the free content in the app is fantastic and helps you really understand how your pregnancy is progressing week by week

What we’d love to see…

Information about siblings

Summary

My favorite “go-to” pregnancy app. The free version provides quite a bit of content and the subscription based one gives even more.

Our Rating

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Totally Pregnant by 40weeks is a universal app for iOS and Android designed for Mums and Dad’s to be in Canada and the UK. The app includes a weekly video, ability to ask questions of local experts, finding deals on baby products and helping you understand the changes made each week during your pregnancy.

This is one of my favorite pregnancy apps. The video’s are by far my favorite part as I like to see week by week what is happening as my pregnancy progresses. The video’s have detail using computer animation as well as a video blogger who explains their symptoms of the week and covers specific topics like morning sickness, ultrasounds, different tests as well as preparing for the birth of your baby. I also liked that the app gave you the “premium” version for a month to determine if you wanted to upgrade so you could see all of the features. As part of the free app, you get access to a weekly video (although it is constrained to your current week), a description of what to expect during the week, a tip of the day (which changes daily) the ability to add documents to a photo album including ultrasound photos, lab tests and belly pictures.

In terms of enhancements, I would like to see more information on how to prepare other children for an upcoming arrival as the video blogger for Canada (the version I reviewed) was doing the weekly video’s from a point of view for a first time Mum. I known that my son enjoys watching the weekly video to learn more about what is happening that week.

iPhone Screenshot 3The app contains in-app purchases for discounts at the shopping as well as the ability to ask experts a question and see the “extra” 3D video. As a mom I felt that the extra IAP was worth it because I felt it added so much to the app in terms of content although the app did contain quite a bit of free content.

The app does contain external links to the internet as the ability to share on Facebook and is aimed at parents, not children. The app is free to download, some features including the shop discounts require membership. If you like the app, I would suggest buying the “full pregnancy” in-app purchase as it is significantly cheaper over time than the trimester or monthly option. Memberships are for a set period of time and do not require renewal and allow you to watch all of the video’s at once instead of having to wait for your specific week to pass by.

Of all the pregnancy apps that I have downloaded, this is one of my favorites. I enjoy watching the week by week video’s to learn what is going on in the pregnancy as well as what to anticipate in the future. The app is currently only available in the UK and Canadian app stores, but the developer has plans to expand the app to additional app stores in the near future.

 

Totally Pregnant - A Total Pregnancy Experience
Totally Pregnant - A Total Pregnancy Experience
by 40weeks

Category: Health & Fitness, Lifestyle
Requirements: Compatible with iPad2Wifi-iPad2Wifi, iPad23G-iPad23G, iPhone4S-iPhone4S, iPadThirdGen-iPadThirdGen, iPadThirdGen4G-iPadThirdGen4G, iPhone5-iPhone5, iPodTouchFifthGen-iPodTouchFifthGen, iPadFourthGen-iPadFourthGen, iPadFourthGen4G-iPadFourthGen4G, iPadMini-iPadMini, iPadMini4G-iPadMini4G, iPhone5c-iPhone5c, iPhone5s-iPhone5s, iPadAir-iPadAir, iPadAirCellular-iPadAirCellular, iPadMiniRetina-iPadMiniRetina, iPadMiniRetinaCellular-iPadMiniRetinaCellular, iPhone6-iPhone6, iPhone6Plus-iPhone6Plus, iPadAir2-iPadAir2, iPadAir2Cellular-iPadAir2Cellular, iPadMini3-iPadMini3, iPadMini3Cellular-iPadMini3Cellular, iPodTouchSixthGen-iPodTouchSixthGen, iPhone6s-iPhone6s, iPhone6sPlus-iPhone6sPlus, iPadMini4-iPadMini4, iPadMini4Cellular-iPadMini4Cellular, iPadPro-iPadPro, iPadProCellular-iPadProCellular, iPadPro97-iPadPro97, iPadPro97Cellular-iPadPro97Cellular, iPhoneSE-iPhoneSE, iPhone7-iPhone7, iPhone7Plus-iPhone7Plus, iPad611-iPad611, iPad612-iPad612, iPad71-iPad71, iPad72-iPad72, iPad73-iPad73, iPad74-iPad74, iPhone8-iPhone8, iPhone8Plus-iPhone8Plus, iPhoneX-iPhoneX
Size: 55.06 MB

$FREE

Screenshots
(Click to enlarge)

[yframe url=’http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tSQ2kOMzhVY’]

[yframe url=’http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n9HSd7P48SA’]

Alison, the American iMum is from Massachusetts. She lives there with her two sons and husband. In their spare time, they enjoy playing outside, enjoying nature and of course testing apps and fantastic products on their devices. My older son loves technology and loves testing out the “latest and newest” apps and tech. I love sharing information about apps and products with others to help them make decisions without feeling overwhelmed with all of the choices.

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