If you read my recent post about Online Books, you know how important virtual books are for my school. So, when I was offered a chance to review the iPad app FarFaria, which has a library of 600 books, I leapt at the chance. The books in the FarFaria app are geared for students from age 2 – age 9, which is slightly young for the grades I teach. To give the app the best possible review, I turned to my friend and colleague, Courtney Nassar who teachers Year 1 and Year 2 (Kindergarten and First Grade). We downloaded the app and reviewed it together. She used it with all of her students and I used it with my younger kiddos (Year 3 & Year 4 or Second and Third Grade).
When you first open the app, there is an absolutely amazing layout, set up like a map of FarFaria. The map has different regions, like Mount Make Believe. Each region is based on the genre of book you are interested in and each region has corresponding graphics so it looks to the kids like they are off on a magic journey.
Once students choose a genre, they receive a selection of books to choose from. All of the books are leveled and the levels are marked clearly on the front cover of each book to help students choose books that are at the appropriate level for them – great built in differentiation tool for teachers. Teachers can also sort the books based on topic, difficulty and age range.
After students choose a book, the book must download to the device. This takes a minute (especially with our slow Moroccan internet) but once you download it, you can add it to your Favorites and forever have that book available OFFLINE. This is one of our favorite features, because our internet can be in and out sometimes, so the possibility of having online books available without the internet feels like a godsend!
Once you have the books, students have the option to listen to them or read the books by themselves. Ms. Nassar used one for read aloud and was able to project the book from her iPad for the students. She also made the app available to the students in an independent reading center and has a few books picked out that she would like to do for Guided Reading.
FarFaria is normally $3.99 a month, with the ability to cancel at any time. They also allow you to read one book a day completely for free WITHOUT a subscription. In exchange for this review, I received a 6 month free subscription. However, we liked the app so much, we have already requested funding for the app for next school year.
I have also been offered two 3 month subscriptions of FarFaria to give away to you! This leads me to our new giveaway!!!! In order to enter for a free 3 month subscription, simply subscribe to our monthly newsletter (which comes ones a month to let you know what is new at the blog and store, and to give you links to FREE teaching resources) and then sign up below by giving us your name and e-mail address. The giveaway will be open until I return from work on Monday afternoon (May 5, 2014) 4:30 p.m. GMT (12:30 p.m. EST).