Parents' Choice Foundation: Reviewing Children's Media Since 1978

Learn Chinese: Toy Story 3

Learn Chinese: Toy Story 3

Fall 2012 Mobile Apps
Ages: 3 - 7 yrs.
Download Price: $4.99
Platform: iPad

With Learn and Read Chinese, Disney makes foreign language learning accessible to young children. As part of their Language Learning program, the app offers five levels of interaction with this condensed storybook version of their classic movie. The app is designed to teach children a foreign language through a progressive immersion format. On the first level, the story is written entirely in English. As children tap on the words, the narrator reads them aloud in English, however when they swipe the word it is read aloud in Chinese. On the second level, one-quarter of the story is in Chinese. The third level is half Chinese, the fourth is one quarter English, and the final level is written completely in Chinese. Where the text is in Chinese, children swipe the words to hear their English translation.

The app has a very well-designed navigation which allows children to easily move between language levels, but also between the twenty story chapters, a list of their Chinese vocabulary words, an achievements page that shows the stickers they have earned by completing various levels and a pge that explains the tonal parts of the Chinese language. Within the story pages children can also record themselves reading aloud. This is a feature that could actually be quite helpful as children could hear themselves reading the words in Chinese. Unfortunately, our testers found this very frustrating because the app only records for six seconds, and it often cut off the readers mid-sentence. Additionally, the recording is not saved, so once the recording window is closed, it is lost.

This was an app that we found needed some parental assistance to get started. Once the testers understood how it worked, they enjoyed reading through the story. Some were engaged in the language learning while others were not. Thus, this app is best suited for children interested in actively learning a foreign language. For them, this is a fun introductory level tool.

Jessica Hensley   ©2012 Parents' Choice
Jessica Hensley is a web designer, yoga and fitness enthusiast and proud mother of two very active young boys. She has been working with family and educational websites for over 12 years.

Look for this product at:
Disney Publishing Worldwide, Inc.
Available on iTunes

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