I was recently given the Storybuilder app to review for Schoolhouse Review Crew and was really blown away. My kids are addicted, and I am trying to reclaim my ipod.
Story Builder is designed to help children accomplish the following educational goals: 1) Improve paragraph formation ; 2) Improve integration of ideas; and 3) Improve higher level abstractions by inference. Extensive use of audio clips promotes improved auditory processing for special needs children with autism spectrum disorders or sensory processing disorders. It won the “best reading app of 2011” by Huffington Post.
The app was designed by a father to help his autistic daughter with her language skills and is one of several apps he designed for this purpose.
Here’s how it works. There are three levels of play and few other custom controls. In the first two levels of play, a picture is shown along with a question that is both shown and spoken; a prompt is also provided with the first few words of the answer.
The child taps on “Record” and begins telling the story, then hits stop and goes to the next question. Level 1 provides 4 questions, and Level 2 provides 7 questions. Level 3 provides only the picture and the record button. Once all of the questions have been answered and recorded, the child can hit play and hear all of his answers woven together into a story. You even have the option to email the completed story to yourself, to grandparents, etc. (Note: You do need to have Apple Quicktime to play back the story on your computer; available for PC or Mac.) The app has 50 different story lines and over 500 audio clips of questions.
My three year old asks for this all the time, and it’s been a great tool for teaching her to answer questions in complete sentences. Her recorded stories are more like conversations with me, but she loves to hear herself in the recording. My oldest is really honing his story-telling skills. I could also definitely see the benefit of this app if you have a reluctant writer. Recording the story with this app takes the fear out of story-telling; then your child could replay the story and write down what has been recorded.
Storybuilder app is available for iPhone, iPod, or iPad for $5.99. I’ve been really impressed with this app and how much it has taught my kids without them even realizing that they are learning. For them, it’s just plain fun.
Read more reviews over at the Schoolhouse Review Crew.