Tumblebooks are real storybooks, from great publishers like Simon & Schuster, Chronicle Books, Candlewick Press, Charlesbridge Press, Harcourt, Little Brown, Walker & Company, and Lerner Books to name a few. They add audio and animation to make the books come alive and there are tons of titles to choose from.
Their TumblePad offers a choice of manual or auto page turning. You can also turn the sound on or off. This allows the parent to set it up for a toddler or beginning reader to listen to a story without the need to touch the keyboard or mouse, or an emerging reader to take on the books themselves. By turning off the audio, your child can read to you while still enjoying the animation.
I use auto-audio storybooks often for my preschooler (with headphones) while my older child is reading aloud to me from a book. Each story tell you the length of reading time for the audio option, so I know which stories will give us the amount of time I need to complete my reading lesson. It offers a Favorites and Playlist option, so I store our favorites or ones I want the girls to “read” there.
For advancing readers, middle graders and high school students, there is a section called TumbleReadables. It contains books like Black Beauty, Oliver Twist, and Blast to the Past series and so many more. Titles are added often. Each title tells you the reading level necessary to find the right fit. There are lots of classics to be found here.
We have not explored as many of these yet, as my oldest is first/second grade level in reading. In browsing a little, however, I have learned that the beginning chapter books also offer an audio option to read along with the highlighted text (as well as a muted option). The advanced books do not offer the audio option. If you are looking for an audio book, TumbleBooks offers these, too. There is no text or animation. It simply reads the story as a CD would.
Something I enjoy about TumbleReadables and Audio is that they offer you a BookMark option to save your spot and come back later. Being able to jump forward and backward to a section or page is also an option I appreciate.
For ESL students, bilingual families or students taking advanced Russian, Chinese, Italian, Spanish or French, the Language Learning section offers great storybooks. Many of the titles are the same as the English titles, but have been translated and are written and read in Russian, Chinese, Italian, Spanish or French.
The best way to learn more about these great books, is just how I did. Check out your library(or their website) and ask if they subscribe to TumbleBooks. If they don’t, ask them if they would. Our librarian loves requests- she told me that it makes getting what people want easier than guessing. :) Often, she will get what we requested in her next order.
You can also download the TumblePad 2.0 with a couple books on it already for free to try out. Extra books and games are available to purchase. The cost for a library or elementary to purchase this for a year is $500. I don’t know if they would consider a lower cost for a homeschool or homeschool co-op. I haven’t asked, as our library pays for the service. It might be worth checking out, though!
Melissa is technologically selective, texting-illiterate, reading addict. She homeschools two wonderful girls and writes about it at HopeSprouts.