Thursday, August 15, 2013

Top Ten Storytelling Apps for Early Learners

My daughter has an intellectual disability. This doesn't mean that she's stupid. It means that she takes longer to learn things than others (and yes, there will be things that are beyond her capability, just like some things are beyond mine!) Kids in her class are learning how to tell stories. They're practicing writing narratives every week. My daughter is just beginning to master letter sounds, and not quite up to forming words or even sentences.

In the meantime, she can still tell her own stories, with the help of some awesome apps. Here's a list of my favorite 10 storytelling apps.

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Art Maker by Play School

This is the very first app I ever saw, so of course I’m in love with it! My daughter was engaged right away and immediately began narrating a story. Over time she’s improved with her story structure and now tells stories with a beginning (Once upon a time…), a middle (she has really improved here!) and an ending (The End, bbbbyyyyyeeeeeeee). I’ve always been a fan of Play School because of the fabulous educational content, and their app does not disappoint. High quality graphics with no ads and plenty of storage for your child’s own creations.

($2.99, iPad Only)


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BookBot by Glen Storey

A quick way of creating a story, BookBot allows you to use photos from your library, add your own text and record your own voice. Then the fun begins. On each page of the book, the text floats across the screen, each word in its own cloud, and you need to tap the clouds in the correct order to make the original sentence.


If you would like to purchase this app, please support Smart Apps For Special Needs and click on this button:

($2.99, iPad/iPhone)


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My Bike Ride by Collins Big Cat

The Collins Big Cat series of book apps are a great way to learn storytelling. First, have the story read to you until you know it well. Second, read the story yourself and record your own retelling. Third, create a whole new story using the backgrounds and images from the story, and adding your own text and recording. Could be used as a comprehension exercise, a narrative writing exercise, and/or a creative expression exercise.

My Bike Ride
(Free, iPad Only)


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Toontastic from LaunchPad Toys

Toontastic is another fabulous animation tool that allows children to let their imagination go wild and tell some really fabulous stories. It has some story structure to help children see the layout of a story in the form of an arc; beginning with the Setup, moving into the Conflict, facing a Challenge, reaching the Climax and ending with the Resolution. Each part of the story has its own animated scene that the child creates.

Toontastic: FREE
(Free, iPad Only)


Toontastic: All Access
($19.99, iPad Only)



Toontastic Jr. Pirates
(Free, iPad/iPhone)


Toontastic Jr. Shrek
(Free, iPad/iPhone)


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Puppet Pals from Polished Play

Puppet Pals is another animations storyteller, this one having loads of customizable options. The upgraded version allows you to add your own photos and backgrounds. What an awesome way for children to share a holiday journal, for example! I have personally used this during my post-grad studies to do a group presentation on inclusive education. My group members each created a character (using pics from the web) and performed a role play in Puppet Pals, and then plugged it into the projector to show the rest of the class. Good way to combat stage fright!

Puppet Pals HD
(Free, iPad Only)



Puppet Pals HD Director's Pass
($2.99, iPad Only)


Puppet Pals 2: Free
(Free, iPad/iPhone)


Puppet Pals 2 All Access
($4.99, iPad/iPhone)


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Book of Me by Book of Me

Book of Me is a cute way to create a “personalized” story about your child. Children customize a character, choose options for the story and then record their own voice. This could be a great way for kids to get to know each other better as they share their stories, discuss how it’s true or not true in real life, and decide how they would change the story. Also, it could be used for kids to introduce someone else in the class.

Book of Me
(Free, iPhone/iPad 2x


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Stories About Me by Limited Cue

Stories About Me is a quick and easy book making app. Perfect for creating social stories, which can then be shared in the dropbox. It has voice recording capabilities to personalize the story.


If you would like to download this app, please support Smart Apps For Special Needs and click on this button:

($5.99, iPad Only)


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Scribble Press by Scribble Press

Scribble Press is another book making app, without voice recording, but with sharing capabilities, so that your book can be shown to the world. A wonderful way to share a class story about an excursion to the beach, for example. Stories can be sent to iBooks, and also downloaded from iBooks. It could be used for linking city schools with remote schools and sharing local stories.

If you would like to download this app, please support Smart Apps For Special Needs and click on this button:

($3.99, iPad Only)


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You’re The Storyteller: The Surprise by Hamaguchi Apps

This app is a wonderful way to practice the story arc that I mentioned earlier. The animation is given, and the child records their own telling of events. They can also write a script on the side to help them, if need be. The story really is told very well just with the animation, but the child’s telling really enhances it, and also gives you an idea of their comprehension of the more subtle aspects of the story.

You're the Storyteller (Home Edition) HD
($5.99, iPad Only)



You're the Storyteller Pro HD
($9.99, iPad Only)


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Story Wheel by EverAge

Story Wheel is the app you need when you suffer writer’s block. This can be used as a language game (time stuffer), with multiple players, or by a single player needing some inspiration. If a child has the basic structure of a story (beginning, middle, end, or in the form of an arc), this will help them with the content. It’s a matter of chance on what the content ends up being, and the stories can be quite funny!

If you would like to download this app, please support Smart Apps For Special Needs and click on this button:

($2.99, iPad/iPhone)


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Cas loves listening to stories in her house, and probably loves telling them just as much. She thinks it's wonderful that her daughter is now able to tell her stories, without having to rely on her writing or speaking ability.

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