By using technology, reading has become an interactive adventure for children.
When an iVOX animated ebook title is opened, the characters come alive as computer-generated imagery along with a narrative and printed words children can see. According to the website libraryideas.com/ivox, “iVOX is a revolutionary take on read-alongs for children ages 2-10. Whether used as a motivational tool for young readers or simply to add a bit more magic to the reading experience, iVOX is a learning tool that benefits children of all ages.”
“I’m sure you’ve seen a read-aloud book, like on YouTube, or just watched a school teacher read aloud,” said Kathleen Pearson, the programs coordinator for the Navajo County Library District. “We see them open the book and show the pictures, (but) nothing moves.”
The video above is representative of an iVox experience.
While these ebooks are meant to be used on personal tablets or phones outside of the library, a young patron can visit any district library and read iVOX ebooks for free, Pearson said.
One of the strengths of iVOX is the dynamic display. Rather than emulating a printed page, each “page” in an iVOX book responds intelligently to the size of the screen it’s seen on.
“One of the things I’ve noticed with a lot of apps with children’s books is that when you open them up the story is on both pages at one time and it’s very wide,” Pearson said. “It’s hard to get that to work on a mobile device. On Kindle, for instance, they don’t carry a lot of picture books because the formatting doesn’t work well on a cell phone. With iVOX it works beautifully on my small little Apple phone. You’re not having to scroll across or around on your device to get it to fit on your screen.”
The user can see and read the words, but the app does read aloud as well. If a parent wants their child to read it themselves, rather than being read to, the volume can be muted. The app is free, but to access an iVOX title, the child must attend a school or be a patron of a library that subscribes to the service.
Many iVOX titles are standard kids’ fare; Pearson said “Cloud Chasers” is popular iVOX book. This is an action-packed story about a young pilot who dreams of soaring through the skies and chasing the clouds. But it’s not all storytelling and fanciful settings.
“iVOX also has not just storybooks, but non-fiction books about sea turtles, crows, elephants and king cobras. There are also books if your kids are more into the spooky, supernatural or mysterious, including the Loch Ness Monster. I think this is going to get kids a little more motivated,” Pearson said.
The Navajo County Library District pays for an iVOX subscription for its libraries and it can be accessed for free without a library card on the district website at navajocountylibraries.org; or a user can download the iVOX app at Google Play or the Apple App Store. A library card number and ZIP code need to be entered for access.
The popular VOX Books officially hit the shelves in 2017. These children’s books integrated narration that helped to develop strong readers. iVOX is its latest endeavor.