EZ Tales Review

by Shannen

EZ Tales is an online resource to improve literacy through interactive and engaging stories. I reviewed EZ Tales with my 2.5 year old daughter, so while I was not looking at whether her reading level improved, I was intending to look at how she picked up on rhyming and letter recognition, but not expecting high results at this time given her age.

The images are colorful and kept the attention of my daughter. It took me a while to figure out when she would point to my laptop screen and ask for "water" that she was actually talking about EZ Tales and the island theme, so that shows that she enjoyed the website and the animated stories.

We liked the stories and animations, but the website design left something to be desired. When in the My Island area of the website, all the stories are grouped as small icons on the bottom of the screen. It takes a bit of precision to choose exactly which icon you want to click on, and the icon itself does not reflect the story it links to. I would imagine a story about a farm would have some type of farm animal, a barn, or something similar, but instead it was an elephant.

After clicking on an icon, a new screen opens up to play the story. This screen is not responsive in that it doesn't adjust the size based on the screen size of the device. On our 13" laptop screen, I had to first move my mouse outside of the active story window, click, and scroll down in order to read the text. At the end of the story, I again had to make sure the mouse was outside the story's pop up window to scroll up and close the pop up. Having to maneuver the screen as such makes independent play
much tougher at a young age, and it's generally annoying even for someone who knows how to work with it.

Once the story's pop up screen is closed, we are then returned to the My Island view, and the user is encouraged to move the icons to the island when they are finished. With the icons as small as they are, and not having any relation to the story, I found it hard to find the exact icon to move. Even with a lock on each icon not yet used, it was again quite small and hard to see.

I think the content of the site is expansive and thorough so it can fit the needs and wants of many families. There are also such a large variety of activities that it gives entertainment and education to a relatively wide age range (probably toddler age to 7-9, depending on the child). The number of activities centering around the alphabet is impressive, and was my main area of focus given my child's age and upcoming educational goals. I also like the topic layout on the sidebar for the various content areas like Science, Alphabet, Story Books, etc.

In summary, I think the content of the site covers a wide scope and is well organized from a big picture point of view. When it comes to the finer details of the website design, especially the story pop up window, and organization within a larger topic, there is room for improvement.

Thank you SO MUCH for sharing your experience with EZ Tales. Your thoughts are very helpful, not only for parents, but for EZ Tales as well. They want to know how they can continue to improve their website as further their mission to increase literacy. Blessings, Heather :)

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