The Adventures of Billy Possum App
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The Adventures of Billy Possum is an interactive and beautifully illustrated children’s story for the iPad. It was created as part of a research study on reading comprehension difficulties and iPad technology. The story of Billy Possum has been adapted from the book, “The Adventures of Unc’ Billy Possum”. Billy is a witty and smart possum. He loves adventure but often gets himself into trouble. This story also includes many of Billy’s Australian animal friends and their adventures. There are 25 chapters plus a walkthrough chapter that helps explain how to start. You are required to begin at chapter 1 and you will unlock each chapter one at a time as you answer the questions and problem solve. This comprehension app is recommended for children between the ages of 9 to 11. It encourages visualization, comprehension, prediction, and sequencing.
Let’s begin. As you enter the app, you will notice the incredible illustrations. To start, you will want to create an avatar. You will see an animal icon on the bottom left corner. Once you select it, you will choose between 6 different animal avatars. You are able to have up to 6 different users at at time using the different avatars. I chose the pink and fluffy Sammy Galah but gave her my name, Kathryn. You will start with the walkthrough chapter. This will guide and explain what to expect throughout the story. You will drag and drop the answers. If you drag and drop an incorrect answer, the audio function will prompt you to get a clue which will highlight the answer in the story. If you choose the incorrect answer again, the app will show you the correct answer before you continue on. Once you have finished the walkthrough chapter; It will be time to begin the story of The Adventures of Billy Possum.
The types of questions and activities through out the chapters include: fill in the blank, sequence order, multiple choice, and the picture builder. I love the Audio Function. For readers who struggle with fluency or just prefer to listen rather than read, this will keep them engaged and excited. An important feature in this app is the ability to take and track data as well. Reporting can be turned on in the settings. You will receive an email each time the user goes through a chapter, with a report detailing the questions that were answered correctly and incorrectly. On certain words throughout the app, you will also notice a dictionary function that provides definitions and puts the word into context.
I would definitely recommend this app to any child who struggles with comprehension, and/or reading. I would also recommend it to a child who loves to read because the story is very charming and fun. This app is offers varied skill building activities. While this app is best suited for children between the ages of 9 to 11, I do believe children a little younger and a little older would also love this app, especially for the illustrations and great characters. The Adventures of Billy Possum allows the user to go through the chapters at their own pace and to engage with the stories in a unique way. The illustrations are beautiful and capture your attention. I love the drawing boards because it allows the child to create the story as they hear it and it helps them visualize what is actually happening during the chapter.
The Adventures of Billy Possum website tells more about this interactive comprehension app. At the time of writing this review, The Adventures of Billy Possum retailed for $9.99.