May 1, 2018

Exploring Media Enhanced books with Weigl Publishers {Product Review}

Media Enhanced Books from Weigl Publishers ~ A reviewWe are a house that loves reading and books are big part of our lives--not only during school, but outside of school time too. While printed materials are our favorite, every now and then we like to explore digital copies of books. For the last few weeks, we've been reviewing three media enhanced books, Glaciers, A Lion's World, and There Once Was a Cowpoke Who Swallowed an Ant from Weigl Publishers.

About Weigl Publishers

Weigl Publishers carries a line of over 400 titles of media enhanced books, books that have media content associated with it to help make the book come alive for your children. With books covering the topics of science, social studies, language arts, visual arts, and sports, they are the perfect resource for any of your studies!

There are several different lines within the AV2 family from Weigl:

*Let's READ collection
47 AV2 titles geared towards ages 5-7 to encourage independent reading

*SCIENCE collection
Titles covering all areas of science from Earth and space science to ecosystems

*SOCIAL STUDIES collection
Contains diverse subjects from world holidays to African American history to a complete guide for each US state and more!

*HIGH INTEREST collection
Contains books on things to attract even the most reluctant reader, from holidays and sports, to art and biographies.

Each of these books provides additional links and resources to explore even more! There are also accelerated reader tests which can be purchased that coordinate with many of the books. Some of them have downloadable activities and self-graded evaluation quizzes, as well as weblinks and informative videos.

We reviewed three of the books from the AV2 family:
*Glaciers from the "Earth's Water" series (Grades 3-6) from the SCIENCE collection
*A Lion's World from the “EyeDiscover" series (grades K-2)
*There Once Was a Cowpoke Who Swallowed An Ant (grades K-2) from the fiction collection

Our Thoughts on the Product

I have never used media enhanced books before, so I didn't know what to expect. Unlike the books you would normally receive (which are printed), we were operating off of digital pdf copies of each book. I downloaded them to my laptop so that I could have the greatest access to them. At the beginning of each book, you will find the information about what things are available in the media enhanced book. Of the three books we reviewed the Glaciers book offered the most enhanced material.
All the things that are available online for the Glaciers book
At the beginning of each book, there is also a code which you use to have access to this material. Each book has its own code. There is a website to click on where you will enter the code. Once the code is entered, there is an additional security portion asking for like the "last word of the first paragraph of page 5". I only had problems one time. One time, nothing I entered was working--so just as a guess, I entered the information from the page prior--and it worked. So I don't know. That only happened one time. LOL.

As I said, the Glaciers book had the most extras. By reading the digital version of our book, you simply get that. A basic book. The online enhanced version however has extra videos, turns the pages into slide shows, incorporates maps, and more! There is even an end of the book quiz--which can be done online or downloaded.
There are printable activities connected with several of the pages, like this one below.
It is easy to sort through the online book to find all the pages that have activities or weblinks or other things--simply click on the icons at the bottom of the home page of the book.

This book is definitely geared towards grades 3-6, so I appreciated that it had a read aloud option for my 7 year old to work through it better. He really liked all the extra media aspects, although we took the quiz verbally over using the computer. His favorite parts were the actual "real" videos that were included to teach about the terms and topics.

A Lion's World was the most elementary of the books. There wasn't anything besides having it read aloud, and seeing short little clips of the lions or hearing the audio of the lions. It was definitely at the low end of the K-2 grade level. My son liked this one the least.

His favorite of the three books was definitely There Once Was a Cowpoke who Swallowed an Ant. This was a fun fiction tale similar to the ever popular "A lady who swallowed a fly". This particular book's media enhancement was a great read along. My son LOVED having the book read to him--and because I connected the computer to the TV, he got to see the illustrations up close and loved the story even more! I heard him giggling a couple times. It really is a super cute take on the classic story. And since my son had never HEARD the original version (gasp!) this was his first experience with it and he just loved the silliness. Interestingly enough, at the library this past week, they read a mermaid version of the story. My son recognized the tale and reminded me that it was like his cowboy story.

So after using all of these books, here is my take on it--it's a mixed bag.

I really think these are ideal for a classroom setting. I absolutely see them on the new smartboards of a classroom--especially the books like the Glaciers,  which has TONS of multi-media aspects. But having a book like that for homeschooling or personal use? Well to me it just doesn't seem to be as good of a fit. Even with getting the physical book too. Now, I think it would be nice to have all the codes for any of the fiction titles to use for trips. Letting your child have the story as a read along is a great way to pass time for road trips.

A major deterrent though is the pricing. For curiosity sake, I downloaded an order form to see what kind of pricing there was. From what I could find, the pricing on these three books ranged from $27-32 each if you weren't a school or library. And even if you were, the lowest price was about $18. This is one of the main reasons, I know I would never purchase something like this for my own homeschool. And why I say they are ideal for the classroom/school scenario.

The books are very well done. The information is very interesting, and yes, in the fiction it is entertaining. The concept is excellent for use in the classroom--I found the science book the most involved and useful of all the books in regards to what the media enhanced portion could do. But for a home setting, I just don't see these as doable for a family like mine MOSTLY due to the cost.

Want to Know More?

For the last few weeks, we've been reviewing three media enhanced books, Glaciers, A Lion's World, and There Once Was a Cowpoke Who Swallowed an Ant from Weigl Publishers. You have seen my thoughts on the books--but why don't you go see what other crew members thought?!
Multimedia Digital Books {Weigl Publishers Reviews}

These were definitely fun books to look at, and my son has a new favorite book because of it. I just wish they were a bit more reasonable for my budget...

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