A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this app.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that The Cat in the Hat - Read & Learn - Dr. Seuss brings the classic Dr. Seuss book to life on your tablet. Through interactive elements, one-question activities, and several reading options, kids can encounter or revisit the story in a way that encourages reading. Parents can track their kids' reading stats and adjust settings to customize the reading experience.
What's it about?
The Cat in the Hat - Read and Learn - Dr. Seuss is a digital version of the classic Dr. Seuss book. Kids can progress by tapping the right arrow to move forward page by page. Each page features the original illustrations from the book plus a few animated features. If the app is set to "Read to Me" (which it is by default), the text is read aloud and each word is highlighted in red as the narrator reads. (Parents can choose "Read It Myself" to turn this feature off.) Kids also can tap the words in any order to hear them read aloud. As kids tap objects, they see and hear their names, and kids can further tap, drag, and tilt to reveal hidden stars on each page. Stars trigger other learning activities, such as drag-and-drop exercises to match words to pictures and quick reading-comprehension checks ("Which character is scared right now?"). Once kids reach the end of the story, they can see how many of the hidden stars they found, and they can revisit each page to reveal more stars and more learning activities. Kids also can access those stars from the app's main page, and they can choose to revisit the learning activities one by one outside the pages of the story. All these features can be toggled on and off in the parents-only settings menu. Parents can track a child's progress through the Reading Stats section, which tracks minutes, pages, and books read. Parents can reset the stats, but there's no option to have multiple user accounts for multiple kids. A help & FAQ page offers more insights on how to use the app and get support, and an Info page links to more information about the developer.
Is it any good?
With a good range of learning activities and lots of ways to explore, this interactive version of the book is a stellar way to bring it to life. Though there are relatively few ways to customize the experience -- turn the narration on or off, read straight through or search for stars -- those simple features can make for a rich and varied reading experience. The learning activities are especially good: It's motivating to see that you've only accessed some (but not all) of the activities, and kids will want to search and find more stars and try to collect them all. It's also great that kids can simply work through the learning activities one by one. It feels like a game, but they'll actually build some pretty solid literacy skills along the way.
Keep in mind that this narrator reads fast, and that could be discouraging or frustrating for early readers or English language learners. Even though kids could readily explore on their own, this app is best used with kids and parents working together and finding the best-fit way to read. It also might be a good idea to read the book first before introducing the interactive version, as the bells and whistles might ultimately distract a first-time reader.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the best ways to use this app. Play with the "Read to Me" and "Read It Myself" settings and pick the one that best fits your child's reading level.
Play with the learning activities and talk about other questions the app could ask. What other things could you talk about or explore in the book?
Talk about what you think happens next in the story after the children's mother arrives home. Imagine what might happen if the Cat in the Hat came back.
- Devices: iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad
- Subjects: Language & Reading: following directions, letter or word recognition, naming, reading, reading comprehension, spelling, text analysis, vocabulary
- Price: $4.99
- Pricing structure: Paid
- Release date: July 14, 2015
- Category: Books
- Topics: Book Characters
- Size: 42.70 MB
- Publisher: Oceanhouse Media
- Version: 4.0.1
- Minimum software requirements: Requires iOS 8.0 or later.
- Last updated: November 11, 2020
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Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.