Saturday, June 21, 2014


The FarFaria app is an app designed for children ages 2-9; it provides a plethora of stories and options for reading those stories. I was so excited when I found it that I e-mailed everyone at my school to share it with them. One of my colleagues downloaded it for her 1st grade daughter and 4 year-old son that night. She said they stayed on it for over two hours over the weekend! So there's proof that kids like this app. :)

The app is available for both iPad and Android devices. Since I own an iPad, those are the screenshots you'll see in this post. :)

Here's what you'll see when you search for FarFaria in the App Store.
FarFaria boasts a collection of over 600 children's stories, and 5 new ones are added each week. Every story has a "read-to-me" feature that makes it easy for younger/ESL students or struggling readers to enjoy the stories, as well.

When you first download FarFaria, you see'll screens like this:

If you're in the free version, you click the "Try One Free Book a Day" to start.

After you're "in" the app, you see this cool layout featuring 11 different "islands," or themes for stories.

When you click on an island, you can scroll through a list of the eBooks that are offered in that theme.

Obviously, these are some of the books offered in the "Mt. Make Believe" island. 
Notice that you can sort the available books by popularity, release date, reading level, or titles in alphabetical order. This would obviously come in handy if you had a subscription and your child had already read all the books and was anxiously awaiting new releases!

I randomly selected a book and was met with this screen:

In order to open your first book, the parent has to give their e-mail address and put in their birth year. I'm annoyed that I had to put in my e-mail address -- I hate getting spam in my inbox! -- but I understand why that would be necessary if you had a subscription. {For the record, though, you have to put in your e-mail address just to read one of the free books.} Any time you click on the "settings" gear in the bottom right corner, you're instructed to input your birth year, too. I thought this was a clever way of making sure the child doesn't change anything without your knowledge. ;)

E-mail address blocked for privacy reasons ;)
After I "signed up" for the website, I could view the book I'd picked:

I loved the 3 options {auto-play, read to me, and read myself}. This conveniently makes it so that your child can read any book at any level, regardless of his or her reading ability. The "auto play" feature has someone read the book to the child, and FarFaria automatically turns the pages; it looks just like a movie on the screen. The "read to me" feature reads the words on the page, but your child has to manually flip the page when they are finished looking at the pictures. And obviously, the "read myself" feature takes all the audio out of it.

You have the ability to add your book(s) to your "favorites" list so you can find it easily next time. I think I remember reading somewhere that the "favorites" option only works if you have a subscription, but I can't find that statement now. Anyway, the "favorites" option also makes the book(s) accessible for offline reading so your data plan isn't eaten up when your kiddos read. :)

When you're finished with the book, you see this screen:

This little "photo finish" option is unique and cute: take a picture of your little reader after he/she finishes the book, add a frame, and share it on social media with your loved ones.

If you don't have a subscription {so you're using it for free}, you'll see this screen if you try to read another book in the same day:
You can still browse the lists of book in each island after you've read your free book for the day -- you just don't get to open it until your day resets.

Someone was kind enough to give me a free subscription for 6 months, so at this point, I went ahead and redeemed my code so I could continue checking out this app.

As a former English teacher, I was intrigued with the "Classics Grove" island. Here is a screenshot of some of the available books there:

I love that they took classics like The Wizard of Oz and Romeo and Juliet and made them kid-friendly!

One unique island is called "Sing Along City."

Every book in this island is sung instead of read if the child uses the audio feature. It adds a fun and playful twist to reading.

Since the first book I looked at was a very low reading level, I went back and chose a book at level 4 -- the highest level offered. I chose Between O-Ween:

It was a cute book that I thought was appropriate for an on-level 2nd or 3rd grader.

There is no obligation to pay as long as you're cool with 1 story a day. If you wanted to use it for multiple kids or to read multiple stories, you might be better off purchasing a subscription. From what I can tell, the app lets you purchase 1 month at a time, while the website offers 6- and 12-month subscriptions. Both the 1-month and the 6-month subscriptions average about $4/month. The 12-month subscription is slightly discounted -- at ~$3.33/month -- and can be purchased on their web page. {You can also gift a subscription to a friend from their website if you want.}

A note about subscriptions: their website says you can cancel at any time, but I saw a review in the App Store that said it is difficult to unsubscribe. Their website makes it  easy to contact customer support, but I'm not sure what their response time is... Anyway.

If you have little ones or teach little ones, FarFaria is an app you might want to consider downloading.

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