Miracles of Jesus is a Christian storybook app by NEST Family Apps. It puts several stories from the Gospel together in an accessible way for children of different ages and abilities. While I’m happy to have a Christian story app to share with my children, there are a lot of extra features in the app that I was pleased to see. It supportive of early readers, a great resource for educators, and entertaining for all ages. The developers have put a lot of thought into the design of this app and I really enjoyed reviewing it with my family.
Reading Modes – There are three reading modes available:
- Read to Me – hear the narration and see the words highlighted
- Read and Learn – hear each page read and interact with different elements on the screen.
- Just a book – narration, pop-ups and interactive elements are turned off for a quiet reading experience. This mode is great for “lap time.”
Levels of difficulty – Each of the three reading modes is available in two levels of difficulty:
- Early Readers – suitable for early primary
- Advanced Readers – suitable for middle primary and above. This mode also features pop-up information panels that give children more background information.
Story – I’m sure I won’t be giving any spoilers away if I mention that the book covers several of the Miracles of Jesus from the four Gospels. These include:
- The calming of the storm
- Jesus heals the boy with palsy
- Jairus’ daughter raised from the dead
- Jesus walks on the water
If you use the Advanced mode in either the Read to Me or Read and Learn modes, you’ll find the Gospel Chapter and verse references in the pop up information panels.
Supportive Text Features – Text is highlighted as read (except in Just a Book mode) and you can tap on individual words to hear them spoken. These features are very supportive of early readers.
Good Narration – The narration by Dean Cooper is well paced, clear and expressive. His US accent was easy for my children to listen to, even if some of the words are pronounced slightly differently to the way they are pronounced in Australia.
Discussion Starters – At the end of the story is the NEST family chat, which gives you a couple of questions to use as discussion starters as you reflect upon the story.
Colourful Illustrations – The illustrations are clear and colourful, and they seem to come from stills from the NEST animated cartoon of the same name.
Activities – The app comes with a number of extension activities.
- Word Jumble – two levels of difficulty
- Word Search – two levels of difficulty
- Maze – two levels of difficulty
- Trivia – multiple choice questions about the story that are great for comprehension. There are no penalties for wrong answers, and children get to try again until they arrive at the correct answer. Children with reading difficulties might need an adult or older sibling to help them read the questions and possible answers.
- Trace alphabet
- Trace words
While I love the way the tracing activities are done, I prefer my children to do writing activities that use the same font they are using in their handwriting at school. That being said, I think the word tracing activity will be very useful for vocabulary skills.
Painting – There are more features to the painting activity than you might expect. I was impressed with the variety of paint tools (spray, brush, crayon, chalk or paint bucket,) the number of colour choices, and how easy it was to change the size of the painting tools. There are 6 line drawings from the story, plus a blank canvas for free-style art. The black lines in the drawing always stay on top, and painting “outside the lines” is impossible, making it easy for the most un-coordinated artist to create a masterpiece.
We found it a little difficult to paint the lower parts of each screen as the colour options kept popping up over where we were painting.
The YouTube video below will give you an overview of the App and its features.
There are external links to social media, the NEST website, and the iTunes Store in the Help section, however this is not easily accessible to very young children. You need to enter your birth year in order to access these links and other information. While I don’t believe young children will bypass this, if you have concerns about your children accidentally accessing the external links and social media, I suggest putting the app in Airplane mode or turning off WiFi before giving the device to your child.
I would like to see an extra information section that lists the different miracles and their Gospel references. Although these are accessible in the pop up information panels, it would be very handy for parents and teachers to have a summary in the Parent information section.
The trivia activity is excellent, but I’d like to see an option for reading the question and the possible answers so that it is more accessible for children with reading difficulties.
As we found the tools obscuring the screen on occasion in the painting activity, it would be handy to have a little hide/reveal button.
This app is a great resource for Christian families and schools. Apart from some wonderful stories from the Gospels of Mark, Matthew, Luke and John, the app has features that are supportive of early readers, plus some great activities to assist with comprehension. There is a lot of attention to detail, making this app useful for children of different ages and abilities and engaging enough for them to return to it frequently. I look forward to adding more NEST apps to our family collection.
You can also purchase Miracles of Jesus for Android from the Amazon Online Store for $2.99. For links to the Google Play and Nook versions, plus other NEST Family App titles, please visit the Nest Family Apps App Page.