The story app Little Blue Jackal, from Niyaa, reviewed in 2011, retells a classic story from the Panchatantra. The Blue Jackal returns now in a bilingual story app which uses the characters, story and setting from the original app to introduce learners to Spanish words, phrases and sentences.
Each page of the story has interactions which reveal over 140 Spanish words. Selecting Level 1 facilitates the learning of 50 new words. In Level 2, the reader can learn more than 25 Spanish phrases by activating conversations between the birds in each picture. Level 3 offers a complete bilingual book using full sentences, with the story written in both English and Spanish. In excess of 700 hundred words are used and the story can be listened to in either language. A glossary of Spanish words is also provided.
In addition to colouring pages of scenes from the story, there are three games to enjoy – a memory game, animal fun facts and Feed the Jackal. Each of these games is fully bilingual and also incorporates counting and letters of the alphabet.
The level based approach which has been used in this app makes it suitable for a wide range of readers. Words, phrases and sentences can be repeated as often as required until they are mastered. Illustrations are bright and attractive and encourage children to linger over the pages. A sleep mode facilitates listening to the story without the distraction of images and interactions.
The use of a story which is already known is an engaging way to immerse young children in a language other than their mother tongue. It utilises visual, auditory and kinaesthetic learning styles in combination, with regular reinforcement and the opportunity for each user to pace their own learning.
Age range: 2 – 10
Educational value: bilingual storytelling; learning a language
Fun rating: 4/5
Educational rating: 4/5