I was recently approached by Literary Safari to take a look at their interactive folktale app - an app that teaches a West African folktale, with 100% of proceeds used to help keep children in Liberia reading and learning amidst the Ebola outbreak. Need I say more? I immediately checked out their site and downloaded the app to try it out. Although they approached me - and I'm glad they did - I receive no compensation for this post and all opinions are my own.
With this app, we are introduced to Dentist Bird, a retelling of the West African folktale "How Plover Bird Came to Clean Crocodile's Teeth". It's a Liberian folktale of a crocodile with a toothache and his worried friends - animals that can be found in the Liberian rainforest and a clever plover who can make medicine to help relieve crocodile of his pain and strike a good deal to keep herself and all future plovers safe from this hungry reptile. It's a great story that teaches compassion and empathy.
There are three components for kids in this app: Read, Play and Learn.
Read (and play). The story is interactive and you can choose to read it yourself, or hear it read with the words showing to follow along. With each "page", there's an interactive component, and you can gain points from mini games within the story while helping plover bird make medicine for crocodile. While reading the story, you're also introduced to the sights and sounds of the Liberian rainforest - with visually engaging illustrations, animal sounds and music based on West African instruments.
Play. There's also a fast paced game, Mission of Mercy, where you need to move quickly and overcome obstacles while getting medicine to the crocodiles. I have to admit, it was a bit tricky for me :) but Elle (12) and my nephew (5) played just fine and had fun with it.
Learn. There are also learning pages, where kids can learn quick facts about animals in the Liberian rainforest by matching their sounds. You can also learn a little bit of geography with interactive maps you can zoom into to find Africa, Liberia, the river the story is based on.
Watch this 10 sec video of actual plovers cleaning a crocodile's teeth!
They've even included a parent's guide and a teachers guide, both of which offer ideas on how to make the most of this app, how to engage with the kids while using the app, and how to extend learning after. There are paired readings of folktales from around the world, prompts for discussion about compassion and oral health, printable activities and reproducibles like animal cards, maps and much more.
I really like that this app introduces kids to another culture and environment, and encourages compassion in a fun interactive way. It's geared to kids in Kindergarten to grade 3, and my 5 year old nephew really enjoyed it. I was a little surprised that Elle, 12, also enjoyed it! I asked her to try it and give me her opinion and she absolutely recommends it for younger kids.
Here's a preview of the app:
As mentioned above, 100% of proceeds goes towards promoting literacy in the Ebola ravaged areas of Liberia. Schools have been closed for months for fear of spreading the virus, and with literacy rates quite low to begin with, lack of education increases the long term effects this horrible crisis. You can read more about how the proceeds help here.
Read more about this app, and see all it has to offer on their website: Dentist Bird.
Read more about our family's response to Ebola, and other ways to help here.
Interested in more West African Folktales?
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