Hot and humid temperatures won’t keep your child from the library this summer. This month, beijingkids tested two apps that bring a whole world of books right to your hands. Read on as we introduce two dependable apps that allow your child to read old favorites and find new books too.
This free app includes high quality children’s reading materials for ages 3 to 12. The app includes Chinese, English, and bilingual stories so that your child can access a wide range of tales from both languages. Books can be searched by age range, grade level, titles, publisher, Chinese/English, series, and theme.
The app also allows kids to interact with other readers by either “Following” other readers using the app or having “Followers.” Once your child has followed someone, they can keep up with the person’s ‘moments’ and see how many and which books they have read. The app also has a video recording function, a ‘read-to-me’ function, a Chinese dictionary with Chinese audio pronunciation and English definitions, and a Chinese phonetic guide.
Kids can participate in activities via the app, some of which include writing activities where children upload their written material and other readers vote on their favorite entries. Kids can also record themselves reading their books or draw and upload pictures of their own picture book to the app and have their friends vote for their work. The app prompts kids after 15 minutes of reading to rest their eyes.
Platform: Android, iOS
Price: Free to download (and to view a large array of books), RMB 40/mo, RMB 198 for six months, RMB 388/year.
This app aims to improve children’s reading and language learning skills while avoiding the potentially addictive nature of apps. Pickatale boasts 1000+ interactive children’s books in English, Mandarin, Norwegian, Danish, and Swedish.
After subscribing, all books can be downloaded and read online or offline. The books have three reading options: read myself, read to me, and auto play. Read myself allows children to read at their own pace. Read to me and auto play both have narration and simultaneous word highlighting, though read to me allows kids to turn the page while auto read reads continuously. Children can click on various objects on each page to find out their names and pronunciations.
The app adds one new book a week at least, however, not all books are available in all five languages. Pickatale also adds its own original stories and content for children to peruse. Children can search for books by appropriate age range or subject and can access all their downloaded books in “My Library.”
Platform: Android, iOS
Price: Free to download, USD 4.99/mo for English books, USD 7.99/mo for English + one other language, USD 9.99/mo for all five languages
Photos by Annie Wang
Download the digital copy here.