Archive for June, 2012

Oceanhouse Media Chosen As Innovation Awards Finalist

Tuesday, June 26th, 2012

Oceanhouse Media President Michel Kripalani was honored to attend the San Diego Business Journal‘s inaugural Innovation Awards after being selected as a finalist in the mobile devices category. The Innovation Awards acknowledge local organizations who stretch the boundaries and demonstrate how innovative spirit drives economic value.

We’re grateful to have been a finalist and were excited to hear all about the activities of other San Diego companies. A big thanks to the San Diego Business Journal for putting on a great event. We certainly saw that innovation is thriving in San Diego!


Oceanhouse Media President Michel Kripalani (left) with San Diego Business Journal Editor-in-Chief Reo Carr at the 2012 Innovation Awards.
(Photo by Bob Thompson ©2011Fotowerks)


Tips on Encouraging Kids to Read in the Digital Age

Thursday, June 21st, 2012

This article is reposted with permission from The Digital Media Diet, the blog for, featuring articles about kids, technology and the digital publishing industry sprouting up around digital children’s books.

By Michel Kripalani, President, Oceanhouse Media

“The more that you read,

the more things you will know.

The more that you learn,

the more places you’ll go.”

— Dr. Seuss, “I Can Read with My Eyes Shut!

Dr. Seuss was right. Reading opens up our minds to new experiences and knowledge. For children, it can be a magical time. Today’s story telling has taken on a new dimension with the introduction of books on digital devices. Kids can now interact with stories, touching the screen and exploring the different features a particular book app has to offer.

If you have a reluctant reader, encouraging them to read can be a bit of a challenge. So can finding the right level of interactivity in children’s book apps so that it doesn’t distract from the reading experience. Parents, myself included, want to have their child immersed in the story for the right reasons.

There are added benefits to reading on a digital device. Interactivity, when used the right way, can be helpful for a number of kids, from beginning and reluctant readers to English language learners. For instance, if a child is stuck on a word, they can tap the screen and have the word repeated until they are able to pronounce it.

So how do we encourage kids to read in the digital age? Creating good literacy habits starts young and to ensure that children have a wonderful reading experience, here are 10 helpful tips on keeping reading fun and educational in the digital medium.

  • Simple navigation. Select apps that are easy to use to ensure an enjoyable reading experience. Avoid apps that have complex navigation or numerous features and instructions that may frustrate young kids.
  • Co-Reading. Parent and child interaction is key, as was recently noted in a Joan Ganz Cooney Center Study on print books vs. e-books. It’s best to have parents by their kid’s side when reading on device. Ask your child questions about what is happening in the story and encourage them to be playful and explore during reading time.
  • Limit “bells and whistles.” Keep interactivity to a minimum. Look for book apps that maintain the integrity of the story and create a reading experience that most closely resembles reading stories in a traditional book format. Stay away from titles that embed superfluous puzzles and games if they distract from the story and hinder reading comprehension. When selecting a book app, ask yourself if the features in the app are there to enhance the literacy aspect of the title. Avoid interactive features that take your child out of the narrative and off of the page to interact.
  • Reading options. Look for apps that include different reading modes which lets your child choose how they’d like to read the story. In addition to reading with their parents, can your child have the option to have the story read to them by a narrator or choose to read it on their own? Key features to look for in book apps for emergent readers include picture/word association, word highlighting and the ability to touch an individual word and hear it pronounced.
  • Make it a ritual. Set aside a special time to read together (i.e. before naptime). Turn off the T.V. and phone and dedicate the time to reading only. Establishing a routine sends a message to your child that reading is important.
  • Build on interests. Look for topics that are interesting to your child when selecting book apps. For example, focus on activities or hobbies that are most appealing to your child in order to find stories that will appeal them. From sports and dancing to animals and science, there’s an app for that.
  • Remember to have fun! Encourage your child to be inquisitive while reading, taking advantage of the touchscreen technology and the added benefits of digital reading. Taking turns reading the story aloud and acting out the different characters can make reading that more fun, especially for a reluctant reader.
  • Model good reading habits. Have your child see you use your digital device to read as well. You’re your child’s best role model. Take time out of each day to show your child that you enjoy reading too. Tell them what you like to read.
  • Look for the classics. Check out beloved stories that have been teaching kids to read for decades. Is there a story you enjoyed reading as a child? Chances are there’s an app for that now. You’ll have a great time revisiting your childhood favorite stories while introducing the digital versions to your child.
  • Build your digital library together. Involve your child in selecting which book apps to load on their device. To guide you through this process, take a look at resources such as Digital Storytime, KinderTown, Moms With Apps, Common Sense Media, Children’s Technology Review, Parents’ Choice and Kirkus Reviews for their recommendations. These resources can help guide you to age-appropriate reading material. You can also visit your local library and see what tablets they have available preloaded with recommended age-appropriate book apps for your child.

With more than 650,000 apps on the App Store and 500,000 on the Android Market, there is no shortage of book apps available for children. Feed your kids a good diet of the right book apps and they’ll be inspired to be lifelong readers in the digital age.

Thanks, Our Lady’s School!

Tuesday, June 19th, 2012

This year we had the incredible opportunity to try out our apps with the students of Our Lady’s School, a San Diego K-8 school with a mission to educate the mind, heart and spirit.

We met with students from kindergarten through 4th grade and showed them apps like The Cat in the Hat, Oh Say Can You Say Di-no-saur? and There’s No Place Like Space! It was so enjoyable and eye-opening to see our apps in the hands of these children, most of whom had never used an iPad before.

Some of their comments about “There’s No Place Like Space!”:

“My favorite part was when I looked through the telescope. I also liked it when it gave me a warning not to look at the sun.” (7-year-old boy)

“It was cool! I liked that it reads to you and explains all the stuff.” (10-year-old girl – English Language Learner)

“I like that it told you about the planets and how far they are from the sun. I learned that some planets are very far away and get very cold!” (7-year-old girl)

To thank them for their valuable feedback (and just being really awesome), we stopped by last week with a new iPad2 (and LOTS of apps, of course!).

Oceanhouse Media co-founder, Karen Kripalani and her two daughters, delivering a new iPad2


Karen’s daughter giving the new iPad2 to the students at Our Lady’s School

Thanks, Our Lady’s School, for welcoming us into your classrooms this year!

All By Herself….A Little Critter Fan Shares Her Story

Wednesday, June 13th, 2012

With the release of our latest Little Critter omBook this week (Just a Mess), we’d like to introduce you to one of our biggest Little Critter fans — four-year-old Asena from San Diego, California.

Asena adores the Little Critter character — and is learning to do things all by herself just like Little Critter.

Amy, Asena’s mom, describes her daughter as a very unique “little critter.” She likes to pick out her own clothes and dress herself in all different colors (sometimes getting a little mad when she can’t wear what she wants). She loves to play outside, climbing trees and rocks with her two-year-old sister, Sylvia. She also likes to cook, play with her dog, Anu, and has a vivid imagination, often playing a variety of make-believe roles with her little sister.

What she isn’t fond of is making her own bed, but with a little encouragement from her mom (and the Little Critter stories), she’s learning to do this all by herself.

Asena also enjoys reading on her iPad. She has several omBooks, but Little Critter are her all-time favorites. She is a fan of the entire collection and especially likes All By Myself.

Four-year-old Asena reading along with her Little Critter omBook, When I Get Bigger.

“She reads along with the omBooks and enjoys the interactive features, such as tapping on the words and pictures,” says Amy. “She also likes to spell out the words verbally.”

The Little Critter omBooks are often the first thing Asena asks for in the morning.

“I think the stories relate to her life right now,” Amy adds. “The apps are easy enough to use and are helping her learn to read too.”

As Asena gets ready for kindergarten in the fall, we hope the life lessons found in these stories will help her on her new journey ahead. Go Asena!

Mercer Mayer’s Little Critter stories, which address all the major issues of growing up, are perennial favorites of parents and children alike. Visit our Little Critter page for a complete list of omBooks in this series — For more information on author and illustrator Mercer Mayer, visit  

Have a story you’d like to share with us? Send us an email at and we’ll tell you how!