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Review: “Hurray for Pre-K!” for the iPad

Whether attending school for the first time or anticipating a new classroom or teacher, preschoolers often experience pre-school jitters. For years librarians and teachers have recommended Ellen B. Senisi’s Hurray for Pre-K! to these youngsters and their parents. With it’s bright, color photos featuring busy, cheerful children, it’s the just the dose of bibliotherapy that some children need. In Renee McGrath’s review below you’ll read about the enhancements the app has to offer.

Title: Hurray for Pre-K!
Author: Ellen B. Senisi
Photos: Ellen B. Senisi
Developed by: Auracle/Auryn, Inc.
Platform: iOS (iPad exclusive), requires 4.3 or later
Version: 1.0.1
Price: $ 1.99

Screen shot from 'Hurray for Pre-K!' (Senisi) Auracle/Auryn

PreS-An electronic version of Senisi’s print title (HarperCollins, 2000). Through a minimal text and clear, color photographs, Hurray describes the activities and emotions experienced during a typical day at preschool. Screens featuring a photo, a highlighted word, and a brief explanatory sentence or two (for example, “clean,” “When playtime is done, we all clean up.”) are followed by multiple images of diverse children engaged in the related activity.

There are three modes from which to choose: “Read Myself,” “Read to Me,” and “Auto Play.” In the “Read Myself” version, viewers can tap on and highlight a word, which is then read aloud. This is a great feature for emergent readers. The app also allows for personalization; parents or children can record their voices, then choose it as the narration. Switching back and forth between narration options is possible.

Screen shot from 'Hurray for Pre-K!' (Senisi) Auracle/Auryn

While the app offers a pleasing experience, there are some ease-of-use issues; navigation can be confusing and the narration is not always well timed. In addition, although parent involvement is important when using digital media with young children, this production may be too difficult for a young child to manipulate without a great deal of adult assistance. Overall, the app doesn’t hold much appeal over the print version.–Renee McGrath, Nassau Library System, Uniondale, NY