With the rise of digital books and mobile devices like iPad, learning to read is becoming a much more inclusive and interactive experience. Take, for example, our app of the week – the Collins Big Cat series – a teaching tool for primary learners that develops reading and writing skills, while also letting pupils get creative by coming up with their own stories.
What is Collins Big Cat?
Collins Big Cat started as a collection of reading materials, and is used by more than 9000 primary schools across the UK, as well as in English-speaking schools the world over. They’ve now ported the same quality material to a range of interactive, digital Collins Big Cat apps (HarperCollins Publishers Ltd, free) – Around the World, Playing, The Farmer’s Lunch and more. Aimed at various levels of learner (4+, 5+ etc), the series includes animated, interactive books that come with their own sound effects and narration – all with English pronunciation – so children can read along on their own.
How can it benefit the classroom?
What sets the Collins Big Cat apps apart from using traditional paper-based reading tools is the narration, meaning children can learn under their own steam, rather than having someone teach in front of a whole class or one on one. They can choose ‘Read to me’ to read along with the narration as each word is highlighted or ‘Read by myself’ to read without a narrator. You can even record your own narration and sound effects, which gives the opportunity to develop speaking and listening skills, as well as reading, then check the pupils’ progress with the Collins Big Cat Quiz at the end.
What’s the best feature?
The Story Creator tool adds another level of engagement to the Collins Big Cat apps, meaning children can use their reading and writing skills to make their own books (with a little help from the teacher). They can add their own pictures, characters and key vocabulary to get creative with elements of the story, all within a very easy-to-use template.
Where can I get it?
The full range of Collins Big Cat apps are available from the Apple App Store or iTunes, and all for free! The Story Creator titles include Around the World, It Was a Cold, Dark Night and The Farmer’s Lunch.
– If you didn’t catch our last app review, check out our Education app of the week: Paper.
For more information on our favourite apps for Apple iPad in the classroom, call the team on 03332 409 333 or email learning@Jigsaw24.com. You can also stay up to date with all our latest education news and reviews by following @Jigsaw24Edu on Twitter or ‘Like’-ing our Jigsaw24 Education Facebook page.