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Highlights Storybooks from Bamboo
© 2019 Bamboo Learning

CTR Review
buckleit
06/11/2019
Ease of Use
5/10
Educational
7/10
Entertaining
6/10
Design Features
6/10
Value
N/A
Total:
60%
Reviewed using the Standard Rubric
For ages 5-12
For grades P, K, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6
$free, Echo
Teaches: reading comprehension, language, listening
This is a poorly designed, free Alexa skill that works on any Alex-enabled device. Getting started is easy. Just say “Alexa, enable Highlights Storybooks.” Our initial tests found that the story selection process (aka onboarding) confusing because you have to be able to clearly state the complete title of the story in order to launch it. Because the title is heard in the context of a list read by the default Alexa voice, getting the story you want is akin to ordering a pasta dish in Italy. In addition, the pace of the comprehension questions (in level one) removes the joy of simply listening to a story.

Once you start the skill, you select a level and listen to a human narrator reading a short passage. After each narration, Alexa asks questions about the story, listens to the child’s answer, evaluates the answer, and provides feedback. Parents have the option to review their children’s progress and results via Bamboo Grove at http://www.bamboolearning.com/grove

Content includes 12 stories from the Highlights Storybook Collection series for Pre-K through 6th grade aged children). The skill bookmarks progress. This is the first ever Highlights content for a smart speaker content. Bamboo calls it a “voice-first” to build listening comprehension skills. The company was created by Ian Freed, who is a former Amazon executive. The skill is free, but it promotes other Bamboo apps. Note that if you run the skill on an a screen-enabled Alexa device such as the Fire TV products, you can see illustrations along with the text. See also Bamboo Books, Bamboo Math and Bamboo Music. Release date June 12, 2019.
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6/16/2019

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