Who doesn’t love a touch of existentialism in an app? Two loveable bulldogs, Lola and Lucy, take a trip around the country in search of their true purpose in life…and soon discover that back home is where they belong. I appreciate that this app reinforces the values of love, companionship, and friendship without being too preachy!
Prepare to use the app by introducing one of these activities:
- Talk About Pets:Pets can be a huge source of love and comfort for children. If you have a pet at home, ask your child to discuss all the reasons why your pet is special to him/her. If you don’t have a pet, take a trip to your local pet shelter (or find books in the library) and let your child meet some furry friends (real or fictional!). Thinking about some of the benefits of having a pet will help your child get ready to read about the love between Lola, Lucy, and their human family.
- Adventures!Talk to your child about what it means to go on an adventure. Showing a map of the United States, have your child point out where he/she lives. Then locate different places that would be fun to visit. Does your child like playing at the beach? Show him/her states along the coast. Wintery weather more his/her thing? Why not take an “adventure” to Colorado? Since Lola and Lucy travel cross-country, this activity will get your child’s mind ready for the geographical aspects of this app.
- Reading Options:One cool thing about this app is that it allows the reader to read it in two versions: as a picture book or a chapter book. Your choice will probably depend on the reading ability of your child. If your child is still learning to read, have no fear! The app also has “Read to Me” and “Autoplay” features.
Help your child get the most out of an app experience by trying the following activities:
- Reading Comprehension:As your child goes through the app, stop every now and then to chunk information and monitor comprehension. “Chunking” is grouping information into smaller bits, which helps with retention. For example, you may ask your child to stop at the part of the story when the dogs are at the dog park to talk about the most important events of that scene (i.e. “Who did Lola and Lucy meet? What does the new dog say that gets Lola and Lucy thinking?”). Some people like to chunk stories at the end of each page or after a few pages (every three pages or so). The choice is yours, based on your child’s ability to retain information and attend to the story.
- All good readers make predictions while reading. In order to make a prediction, a reader combines what he/she already knows with information from the story to make a guess about what will happen next. Encourage your child to make predictions throughout the text. You may want to ask, “What do you think will happen when Lola and Lucy go to the rodeo?” “What predictions can you make about ________?” Predictions set a purpose for learning and helps children become more metacognitive readers.
Extend the app experience with these real life activities:
- Research Breeds:Lola and Lucy are sweet bulldogs. Why not learn more about the different dog breeds? The app has a section where you could read information about different kinds of dogs. Browse the app’s gallery or go online to Animal Planet’s website, which has a wide range of video clips and photos that are perfect for your child to explore.
- Make Your Own Mutt!Speaking of Animal Planet, venture over to this page and let your child create his/her own dog breed with their “Mutt Maker” game! Your child will have tons of fun learning about different breeds while combining the ears of a Beagle with the legs of a Chihuahua. The possibilities are endless!
- Scene Search:Go back to the story and have your child pick his/her favorite scene on the map. Recall what happened in that scene, pointing out where the scene took place. Then go online to find out more about the landmarks of that particular place. For instance, my youngest son was really into the Wall Street scene, especially the Merrill Lynch bull. Although we live close to New York City and his grandfather works for Merrill Lynch, we have never travelled down to Wall Street to see that landmark. After reading this eBook, we researched information about Wall Street and the bull, and planned an upcoming trip to see it in person!
- Sing It!It’s no surprise that readers quickly fall in love with the main characters, Lucy and Lola. How fun would it be to make up a song about these two crazy dogs?! Have your child think of some words to describe the dogs and their adventure, and then turn those ideas into a song. Bonus points if it rhymes!