Storybook Reading

App review by
Amanda Bindel, Common Sense Media
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Unique tool for shared reading; easy to use but takes time.

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A lot or a little?

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

Educational Value

Kids can learn reading skills and develop social-emotional skills through reading. Kids of all ages enjoy -- and benefit as readers from -- story time. Because you can use any book, you can choose books according to themes or messages you want to teach kids. Kids also can read aloud and record themselves, helping them grow as readers. Storybook Reading makes it possible to read to kids even when you can't be in the same place.

Ease of Play

Kids simply swipe through the pages on the storybooks created for them. Book creators must photograph each page of the book, trying to get lighting and alignment just right, and then record themselves reading.

Violence & Scariness
Sexy Stuff
Language
Consumerism

Adults can make In-app purchases in the parent section, which requires entering a numeric code to access.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Storytime Reading is a tool that lets users record any book and easily share it via email or text. With the full version, you can create unlimited books and share them, but the free download includes the ability to create two books to try it out. The recipients need to have Storybook Reading on their device to read the story. The reader's face is shown in a window on the screen along with the pages of the book.

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What's it about?

To create a book, go to "add book" and use the device to photograph each page of the book to be read. Then record your voice reading each page of the book aloud. Flip across the screen to turn to the next page and record that page until the book is completed. You can redo individual pages, if necessary, and you can add background music to convey a specific mood -- spooky, adventuresome, or happy. You can share completed books by text message or email. The app includes tutorials and sample pages from a book.

Is it any good?

STORYBOOK READING stands out from other read-aloud apps because readers can add any books they want. That requires a bit more work up front, photographing each page of the book, but it means the options are limitless for choosing read-alouds. It's not easy to line the pages up perfectly and have the lighting just right, but perfection is certainly not a requirement for shared reading time. It only works in portrait mode, which doesn't match up well for most picture books. It'd be great to see landscape mode as an option for an update. Families will find lots of uses for Storybook Reading: Far-away loved ones can share books, new readers can practice their read-aloud skills, parents can create personalized stories for kids to watch during screen time, and more.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about their favorite storybooks. With whom would they like to share a story? Kids and adults can record themselves reading and share the story with friends and family.

  • The value of reading to kids is well-known. Having kids read aloud also is important for developing literacy. Encourage kids to record themselves reading a favorite book.

App details

  • Devices: iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad
  • Subjects: Language & Reading: reading, speaking
  • Skills: Communication: listening
    Tech Skills: using and applying technology
  • Price: Free (with in-app purchases)
  • Pricing structure: Free to Try, Free (Parents can create and share two books for free. An unlimited sharing pass is $4.99, and the book Ella and the Peas is $1.99.)
  • Release date: July 15, 2014
  • Category: Education
  • Size: 4.30 MB
  • Publisher: Daniel LLC
  • Version: 1.3
  • Minimum software requirements: iOS 7.0 or later

For kids who love to read

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