Bedtime Stories - read & tell

App review by
Mieke VanderBorght, Common Sense Media
Bedtime Stories - read & tell App Poster Image
Fun, fee-based serial stories to tell kids.

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this app.

Educational Value

Creativity, storytelling, some positive character traits. Can inspire a love of literature and, if kids participate in creating stories themselves, they can practice using their imaginations to follow a story arc. Some stories touch on particular morals or learning topics such as friendship, perseverance, heroism, diversity.

Ease of Play

Clear organization makes it easy to browse the library and view stories.

Violence & Scariness
Sexy Stuff
Language
Consumerism

The app's pay structure means that users start with free content but are drawn in to making in-app purchases to continue reading stories. 

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Bedtime Stories - read & tell is a collection of stories for parents and caregivers to read to their kids. It's not meant for kids to use on their own; the stories have no visuals, no reading aids, and no interactive elements. Stories are divided into somewhat independent chapters, the first of which is always free. Additional installments are available as in-app purchases ranging from $0.99 to $1.99. Each story comes in two forms: the full story, and a summary and outline that parents can use as a guide to tell the story in their own words. New stories are released every two weeks. There's also a story builder that produces silly scenarios as inspiration for parents to tell their own stories. One pack comes free with the app download; additional packs are available through individual app purchases. Read the developer's privacy policy for details on how your information is collected and shared.

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What's it about?

The library in BEDTIME STORIES - READ & TELL is organized by age: stories for kids 2-4, 4-6, and 6-9. Browse through the collection and read the first installment, about the author, and storytelling tips and notes for any story. Four additional story "chapters" unlock through an in-app purchase. Parents can read each chapter as the author wrote it, or they can tell the story in their own words with a summary and key story points as a guide. Alternatively, they can tap through the story builder to generate silly plot points and create a unique story skeleton to tell.

Is it any good?

Colorful, though not always high quality, the stories touch on a variety of themes and provide easy inspiration for parents to tell their own stories. Bedtime Stories - read & tell features stories from many different authors, so while the format is always the same, the quality changes from story to story. The writing style of stories ranges from solid to less substantial. On the plus side, topics are almost always imaginative and of high interest to kids. And, if the writing doesn't seem sophisticated enough, parents can always decide to tell the story themselves. The story summaries and plot point outlines make it easy to make the stories your own. The story builder exercise is a nice idea, and the suggestions are certainly silly, but the plot points are a bit disjointed and need a lot of input to make any sense. But perhaps the biggest downside is the pricing structure: Each story is priced individually, which makes the price for building up a library pretty steep. For parents who want to go beyond picture books and have an ongoing story for their kids or who want to make up stories but need a little help, this is definitely a good one to try!  

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the themes in the Bedtime Stories - read & tell library. Many stories focus on bravery, friendship, diversity, self-acceptance, and more. Look at the story notes for tips on theatrical reading and discussion topics.

  • Encourage kids to tell their own stories. Use the story builder or personal experiences for inspiration, or let kids be guided by their own imagination. Kids can even draw pictures and tell their stories while you write down their words.

  • Read traditional books. There's just something special about flipping through pages to discover a new world. Visit the library as often as you can for a variety of books. Choose picture books with no words for the opportunity to rely on a guide for telling your own story.

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