Monday, May 5, 2014

App Reviews: Axel's Chain Reaction and Literacy Leveler

I've been playing around with a few apps recently, thinking about their potential use in a library setting. In case you're looking for some new tech tools to add to your library tablets, you may want to check out these two.

App: Axel's Chain Reaction by Laura Allison Pomenta Badolato
Platforms: iPad, iPhone/iPod
Content Area: eBook, STEAM
Age Recommendation: 7+
Premise: Axel is the protagonist in this school story eBook. Axel isn't always successful at school; though he's definitely clever, although his mind wanders and he tends to get frustrated when things don't turn out how he wants them to. That combination of personality traits could result is disaster when it comes to the school-wide fair, where each child creates a project or invention. Axel does struggle a bit, but ultimately he learns just how much he can accomplish with his mind and his hands.
     The app has fun interactivity throughout, which will add quite a bit of enjoyment and interest for children experiencing it for the first time. Bright colors and good pacing recommend the app as well.
Potential Library Uses: As a shared read-aloud in a program; on in-library devices for customers to use on their own

App: Literacy Leveler
Platforms: Android, iPad, iPhone
Content Area: Reading levels
Age Recommendation: All readers
Premise: Help readers and caregivers identify the reading level of books using the ISBN scanning feature or text/author search feature of this app to identify the Lexile, DRA, and GRL of books. Not all books will include reading level information, so for those who need to find a book at a specific level, it's possible to search by reading level; these searches will return a list of fiction and non-fiction titles that meet the reading level needs of the searcher. This app is an excellent tool to have out in the stacks to help quickly identify reading level of titles--something that happens pretty much on a daily basis at my library. It's invaluable and getting better as more and more titles are added.
Potential Library Uses: Reference

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