Thursday, March 20, 2014

Review and Giveaway: Write to Read is a Top App to help kids write books while learning to read



Purpose of App: Write to Read allows a parent and child to work together to create stories. Kids add pictures and type their best attempt of the dialogue, and parents or teachers add the "grown up" version of the text to show proper spelling and grammar.

Strengths: Offers the child independence without penalty for making mistakes. A child can easily add audio for parent to follow and help interpret his written text. The set up is simple with clear instructions as well as video tutorials to help get started.

Weaknesses: None

Suggested Audience: Pre-readers to children up to age 10 working on writing skills. Great for improving story-telling skills and encouraging use of complete sentences.

Meets Intended Goal
Entertainment
Worth the Price
Ease of Use
Educational Value
Level of Customization


If you would like to download Write to Read ($6.99, iPad Only), please show your support by using our link:

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External links to developer website as well as ability to send email behind parental lock
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When my daughter was in kindergarten she brought home worksheets with a drawing at the top and a sentence or two at the bottom. She was so proud of her stories, but I had trouble reading it, and she couldn't always remember what she tried to write. I wish I had the Write to Read app for her two years ago.

Much like the little owl in Write to Read by Writereader Aps, my then five year old sounded out and wrote words phonically. Write to Read takes the worksheet her teacher used to a new level. The app follows common core standards to help children create their own books at their current writing level while learning correct grammar and spelling through adult text modeling.

Each book opens with a cover page with a picture, title and the authors name. Each story page has a place for a picture at the top, added from the camera or the device photo library. Below the picture are two blanks for text. The top text box is for the child's sentence, while the lower box is for the adult to type the child's sentence with proper spelling and grammar as a model for the child. There is also an option to record and save the sentence being read aloud.

Parents can use this dual text box to go back and identify common mistakes and areas which may need additional focus, while the child can learn the proper spelling and sentence structure. The boxes do not have to be filled out in any particular order. A parent can go back and add in correct sentences in the second box at any point, and any text can be edited.

I created a five page book with pictures for my son who has Asperger Syndrome and struggles with communication. I then had him write a sentence and helped him record his voice reading it. He described the pictures as best he could and typed his sentence. Since he, like many on the autism spectrum, is a visual learner, he seemed to benefit from seeing his sentence with my corrected sentence written below it.

This is one of the rare apps that really surprised me. As I explored the features, every time I thought, "it would be really great if it did XYZ," I discovered that it did. My daughter wanted to add a page in the middle of her story after she finished. I was half afraid we'd have to delete her last three pages, add in the one she forgot and then recreate what we lost. Nope! She simply went to page 2, clicked "New Page" and a new blank page three was inserted. So simple and intuitive.

Later she realized her pages were out of order. We saw the "Edit Pages" button and discovered how easy it was to rearrange the order of pages, delete pages and jump directly to the page she wanted to edit. There are even undo and redo buttons to allow kids to change their minds -- which happens all the time with my children.

Each letter is pronounced as it is typed, helping to reinforce letter recognition. This can also help assure correct letter selection and is especially useful for letters often reversed such as b, d, p and q. There is also an option to have the letter sounds made instead of the name. So instead of hearing "bee" the sound "buh" is made when the child types a B.

There are so many well thought out and implemented features in this great app. For instance, there are no preset lines, which may make a child feel like they need to fill in all the space provided or stop if they run out of lines. A sentence is as long as the child desires, regardless of length. For several sentences, simply continue writing and the font adjusts to a smaller size to fit the allotted space.

The keyboard is fully functional, with punctuation, capitalization, numbers and special characters available. All vowels, both uppercase and lowercase, are highlighted in red while consonants are blue.

All stories can be read within the app from the Library option on the menu. There is also the ability to print, email and post books to social media directly from the app. Not only can kids share their hard work with family and friends, but if the app is being used in therapy situations then copies of the finished stories can be easily sent to parents.

I love that this app is so simple to use and flexible. Kids can be as imaginative or basic as they want with their story book. Though the cost is higher than many apps, between the ease of using the app and all the useful features, this app is well worth the $6.99. There are so many possibilities for use at home, school or in therapy sessions, and the split text with both adult and child lines is definitely unique. Write to Read is highly recommended.

Giveaway will run through April 11th. Winners will be posted on Facebook and emailed. Please check your email that is related to your Rafflecopter entry.


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Rachel H's daughter wants to write out the entire story of Frozen.

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