Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Special Stories Publishing - an app book set about special needs

Special Stories Publishing is a company who produces quality children's books that tell the story of special needs. There are a range of books that cover topics such as autism, Down syndrome, dyslexia, wheelchair use, adoption and many more. You may have heard of the book, A Friend Like Simon, about a boy with autism. This book is now part of a bundle of books available as an app, so you can take it wherever you go.

The Signed Stories Book Bundle #2, which includes the story, A Friend Like Simon, has all of the stories narrated clearly, with the words appearing on the screen and also signed with American Sign Language (ASL). The fact that the story is signed means that it is more accessible for Deaf children who use ASL as their primary language, and the words on the screen allow a child to read it on their own. The books and this app would be a fabulous addition to any inclusive classroom, and educators get a 50% discount on the app if they purchase 20 or more copies through the volume purchase program at Apple.

If you would like to purchase Signed Stories Book Bundle #2 ($23.99, iPad Only), which includes six signed stories, please support Smart Apps for Special Needs by clicking on this button:


External link to email developer

What I love about Signed Stories, apart from the fact that children easily identify with the characters in the story, is the facial expressions of the man signing the story. American Sign Language uses exaggerated facial expressions as part of proper grammar. I really think it adds to the interest of the story and keeps children's attention.

At the end of the story, there are two games to play: What's the sign? and Pairs. What's the sign? shows the reader an ASL sign. Then, the reader chooses what the sign represents from a choice of three pictures. Pairs is like the typical Memory Match game, but with the options to time the game, and also to show the ASL sign of the picture matched.

From iTunes:
Animated children’s stories and a video dictionary in American Sign Language, narration and captions. Stories have been selected carefully to support teachers working to the ECERS-R scale, and to complement Common Core State Standards. Children of all ages and abilities can enjoy books in this bundle.

All stories have:
• clear narration so children can hear what words sound like (Phonological Awareness)
• captions so children can see what words look like (Phonics and Word Recognition). Captions can be customized by size, color contrast and font style to make reading easier for dyslexic children
• an American Sign Language translation for children who use ASL as a first language and for children learning to communicate in visual language (Comprehension and Collaboration, Knowledge of Language)
• each element can be switched on or off independently so teachers, carers and parents can change the delivery of each story as necessary
• ten video dictionary words (Vocabulary Acquisition and Use)
• two interactive games to extend storytelling, develop motor skills and encourage learning through play

Books in Signed Stories Book Bundle #2 for Schools:
Everyone is unique, everyone is special and working together is a great way to get things done - these simple lessons about the acceptance of others are shared in these stories of everyday life.

A Friend Like Simon (autism)
Going to Buy Clothes (independence)
The Cloud (loss/grief/loneliness/exclusion)
The Elves and the Shoemaker (thinking about others)
The Lost Stars (actions & consequences)
Tom’s Special Talent (dyslexia)

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Cas is addicted to apps, as you may well be aware. But did you know she's also addicted to children's books? This company feeds both addictions!

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