StoryBuilder

 

Learning(i)

Very cool app asks questions, creates stories from answers.

What parents need to know

Ease of play

There are many options for customizing the user experience, which can feel a little daunting at first. However, instructions for recording a story and for the settings are available and clear. There are three main levels of difficulty. For level one, kids will record answers to four questions about a picture, which will then be played back as a short story. Level two asks seven questions that require more creativity or inferences, and level three is entirely free-form recording without question prompts. Whether question and answer prompts are provided and shown on screen is also adjustable within each level in the settings. Stories can be saved and replayed later and shared via email.

Violence & scariness

Some pictures show violent action in the past or future, such as a boat sinking, a firefighter rescuing a boy from a burning house, or a bear baring his teeth, but no harm is actually shown.

Sexy stuff
Not applicable
Language
Not applicable
Consumerism

Parents can provide an email to join the Parent Center and receive information about the app and other family activities, including age-targeted apps. There are also links to purchase other apps. There is a simple math problem to test whether users are parents before taking them to the store.

Drinking, drugs, & smoking
Not applicable
Privacy & safety

Kids can share saved stories via email.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that StoryBuilder is an educational app that prompts kids to record answers to questions about a picture, then knits their answers together into a story. The app uses both auditory and visual prompts and has three levels of play. There are additional settings to adjust whether and how long the words of the question or answer prompts appear on the screen. Kids can also record their own story without the prompts. Stories can be saved and also shared on email. Multiple users can create profiles and save stories, but only one can be logged in at a time. Since there is no feedback provided to kids within the app itself, this is best used together with parents and teachers to track progress.

What kids can learn

Subjects

Language & Reading

  • writing
  • speaking
  • storytelling

Skills

Thinking & Reasoning

  • making conclusions
  • prediction
  • analyzing evidence

Creativity

  • imagination
  • making new creations

Communication

  • listening
  • speaking
  • conveying messages effectively

Engagement, Approach, Support

Engagement

It's important to begin on the correct level for the storytelling experience to be most inviting and engaging for kids. Once they get the hang of the process, kids can have lots of fun hearing their voice tell stories.

Learning Approach

Storybuilder provides questions for kids to answer about pictures as story starters and progressors. As kids answer each question, they are practicing storytelling. Each level builds on the one before it.

Support

Very detailed verbal and text instructions explain how and why Storybuilder encourages kids to answer the questions in full sentences. Multiple options allow users to customize the experience.

What kids can learn

Subjects

Language & Reading

  • writing
  • speaking
  • storytelling

Skills

Thinking & Reasoning

  • making conclusions
  • prediction
  • analyzing evidence

Creativity

  • imagination
  • making new creations

Communication

  • listening
  • speaking
  • conveying messages effectively

Kids can learn language and communication skills by answering questions and listening to the recordings of their responses with StoryBuilder. The repetition of audio and visual cues gives extra support for kids who struggle with auditory and language processing. Kids also stretch their thinking as they analyze each image, make inferences, and respond to the questions. Turning off the questions allows kids the freedom to express their creativity by creating a completely original story. StoryBuilder is a versatile educational app that uses a fun and creative activity to support the development of critical thinking and language skills. 

This Learning Rating review was written by Erin Wilkey Oh

User reviews

Parents say

Not yet rated
Review this title!

Kids say

Not yet rated
Review this title!

What's it about?

In Levels 1 and 2 of StoryBuilder, kids respond orally to a set of questions about an image. The app presents questions in text and audio, and after each, kids see a sentence starter to help them form a response. In Level 3 of StoryBuilder, kids see an image with no question prompts; therefore, they can create any story they wish. Custom settings are available to choose the level and to set up how long the question or answer prompts appear on the screen. Kids can record their responses, as well as replay and save them as a story.

Is it any good?

QUALITY
 

STORYBUILDER does a great job achieving its aim -- helping kids formulate stories about a picture. The multiple levels and settings make it very customizable, so parents or teachers can tailor it for a kid's particular needs. However, the cartoons lack diversity -- almost all of them depict white characters -- and there are a few small typos. The feature to customize the app so that kids see a picture and greeting is nice, but kids will almost definitely need adult help to use the app to its full potential (or even just find the play button from the settings screen). Still, overall it's a great app for developing (and saving, sharing, and showing off!) storytelling skills.

Families can talk about...

  • Set up the app for your kids based on their specific learning needs.

  • Use StoryBuilder as a jumping off point for writing practice. Have your kids write down one of their recorded stories and develop it by adding more details and events.

App details

Devices:iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad
Price:$3.99
Pricing structure:Paid
Release date:March 7, 2011
Category:Education
Size:23.80 MB
Publisher:Mobile Education Store LLC
Version:1.6
Minimum software requirements:iOS 4.1 or later

This review of StoryBuilder was written by

Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are conducted by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.

Quality

Our star rating assesses the media's overall quality.

Find out more

Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging; great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

Find out more

About our buy links

When you use our links to make a purchase, Common Sense Media earns a small affiliate fee from Amazon or iTunes. As a nonprofit organization, these funds help us continue providing independent, ad-free services for educators, families, and kids while the price you pay remains the same. Thank you for your support.
Read more

See more about how we rate and review.

About Our Rating System

The age displayed for each title is the minimum one for which it's developmentally appropriate. We recently updated all of our reviews to show only this age, rather than the multi-color "slider." Get more information about our ratings.

What parents and kids say

Write a user reviewThere aren't any reviews yet. Be the first to review this title.

Poll

Did our review help you make an informed decision about this product?

Digital Compass