Thursday, April 11, 2013

App of the Week

I'm going to let you in on a little life secret- the best ideas come from other people. Very rarely do you come up with some earth-shattering concept on your own. Often, our great ideas are the byproduct of other people's good ideas. In my opinion, we work best when we feed off of other people's brilliance.
(Side bar: this is not your free pass to go steal other people's thoughts. There are laws against that, use your sense. I'm merely pointing out that we have a world of resources around us. Tap into it.)

When I come across something awesome, I like to share it. There is another Cheers & Jeers coming your way soon but until then, I had to share this little gem:

App of the Week

Like most Apple users, we have a plethora of apps to choose from. There are some great ones, some silly one, some excellent time-wasters. But every now & then, a truly excellent one comes along that's worth diving  into and that, my friends, is Story Kit. This little beauty came recommended in a teacher newsletter (see above) & I just happened to be with-it enough that day to actually read the newsletter. Surprisingly, there's some good stuff in those things. Kidding! I used to write them, I know you're supposed to actually read them. Let's see how much info you retain with a screaming toddler attached to your leg!

Story kit is an app that let's your child make his own book. Your child starts with a blank, virtual book where he can add pictures by either drawing on the pages or adding photographs from your camera roll. Or as my boys do, he can add the photographs & then draw over them :) Your child can type in the words using a keyboard and/or he can also record his voice to narrate the story. You have the option to share your story when you are finished. The sharing of your story is completely controlled by you- Story Kit sends you a link that you can email/share, it doesn't post your child's story online for the world to see. Its private & requires your permission before your story can be shared. The finished books are stored on a "bookshelf" for your child to access & enjoy later. 

Why I like it

Uh, where do I start?

It's literacy rich for all skill levels.

Your preschooler can easily use this app independently. It's a great place to start applying that early concept of story writing/story telling. Your child can go at her own pace. She can start by sequencing the story, getting all the key parts down on "paper" in the right order. When she's ready, she can begin to label pictures, she can start applying those letter sounds to words/sentences, or she can just verbally narrate the story. The options are all there to teach the concept of story telling.
For your older child, he can keyboard & write his story as well as narrating. My boys like to do both. It's really fun to listen to how they read their stories out loud. It's also an excellent teachable moment.  You can practice fluency, or sounding like a reader. You can encourage your child to change his voice & inflection in different parts of the story so the voice of the story comes through- the way you'd expect it to sound when you read it to yourself. You can encourage your child to use appropriate punctuation so that the reader knows how the story is supposed to sound. So many fun ways to learn in this app!

It's green.

Meaning that your family isn't killing multiple trees to get your stories told. I have countless binders of paperwork, drawings & stories that we've accumulated over the years that I can't bear to throw out yet.  I'm not exactly sure how to save their stories on Story Kit forever & ever, but they're there at least until we get our next device. I've also noticed that my boys rarely go back & look at the paper books they've made, but they're quick to open up Story Kit & read & listen to the stories they've made there. 

It's screen time without being mindless screen time.

My kiddos love anything electronic. It's a lot easier for me to swallow an hour of electronics if they're working in Story Kit & applying literacy skills instead of mindless clicking. Or fighting bad guys. Sometimes both are necessary. 

It's FREE!

That's right, I said FREE! How do you say no? Your child gets to do something fun on an electronic device that helps them learn AND  you don't have to fork over your credit card #. (insert happy face)

Just a word of warning: the microphone that records their narration is very sensitive. It picks up screaming babies and, ahem, screaming Mommas. You also might want to check your conversation while your child is recording. And yes, that is experience talking... ugh.

Oh & according to my brief research, this app is available only for Apple users. Sorry, Android friends! Come over to the dark side, everybody's doing it... 

Share your favorite apps with me! @preschoolmomma on twitter 


  1. This is great, Joy, thanks for sharing! Scribble Press is another one similar to this and you can order a copy of the book your child makes. It's not free unfortunately, I think it's 3.99.

  2. Thanks, Liz! The boys would loooovvveee to have a "real" copy of their books. I'll check it out!


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