5 Excellent Storytelling Apps for Kids with Special Needs
Are you looking for motivating ways to help develop your child’s narrative skills? Helping to facilitate narrative development can foster improvement of language skills such as recalling information, sequencing, expanding vocabulary and improving expressive language. Below are five storytelling apps that approach storytelling in their own way (e.g. creating your own story with pictures and/or text, modifying a story, reading a published book).
Imagistory is an app that allows you to create your story with wordless picture books. The app comes with two free stories, and other stories can be purchased via in-app purchases. The app is set up so that each time a new page in the story appears, it automatically records your speech. The process makes it easier for a child to record since there are fewer steps to the recording process. There is also a school edition that can be used for more within the classroom and with educators. I like this app because the child can create different stories from each book every time or it can be used in a group to see how each child has a different perspective.
Storypanda is an interesting storytelling app because it not only provides you with interactive stories but also gives the child the ability to modify the stories. They can change the background, characters, etc. to create their story so that it can be shared with others. For children who have difficulty creating their stories, it gives you the ability to start with a platform and then modify from there. This can help teach children with various language and learning concepts such as sequencing, answering “who, what, when, where, why” questions, retelling and much more!
Pictello is an app created by Assistiveware that can be used to create stories with using pictures, photographs, short video clips and text. You can create your story with your speech or computerized speech. When creating a story, choose between Wizard or Expert depending on how much support you need. Name your story and then choose your voice, transition feature and fill out the “About Me” section. As a speech-language pathologist, I have used Pictello to create social stories about specific events and/or goals that I would like that particular person to achieve. For example, if a child is working on greeting others, I would create a story about that particular pragmatic function (e.g. child greeting teacher, child greeting peers and starting a conversation, etc.).
With this subscription-based app, you can access over 75 well known books including How I Became a Pirate, Bear books (Barefoot Books), The Snowy Day and much more. With each book, the story is read to the individual with a voice that varies in intonation and matches the mood of the story. The story is accompanied by background music that helps maintains the student’s focus. Additionally, the child needs to listen to each page before moving on with the book.
“Roll the cubes, make a story”. Many years ago, I discovered Rory’s Story Cubes at a game store. I loved the idea of cubes because you can use as many cubes as you like and create your story in many different ways. I would often use this game with my clients using AAC communication devices. After rolling the dice, they would create a sentence and/or story depending on their particular goal. I was happily surprised when I found out that Rory’s Story Cubes turned into an app with all of the great features of the original game. Choose up to 9 cubes per story and create your story by rolling the dice, taking a photo of your cubes and then sharing it with others. Is nine too much? Start with one 1 or 2 and move up slowly as the child is gaining the skills to create the story. Other cubes are available for in-app purchases (e.g. actions, voyages, clues, enchanted, etc.).
3 Strategies to Enhance Storytelling with these apps
1. Bluebee Pal Pro:
Bluebee Pal Pro is a “plush learning tool to learn, communicate, and connect to technology” that comes in a variety of animals and colors. Once connected via Bluetooth to a tablet; Bluebee can add extra engagement to your storytelling experience. Instead of the voice coming directly from the iPad, allow Bluebee Pal Pro to tell your child’s story. It also can be an excellent strategy to use in a group therapy or classroom with one Bluebee Pal or more. The Bluebee Pal Pro can be passed around, so each student gets the opportunity to use this helpful tool. This assistive technology tool is excellent for turn taking, increased engagement, language and learning goals.
Disclaimer: Although I am an app reviewer for this company, I do not receive a commission in any way from purchasing this product or any of the apps listed above. I was not paid to include this product in the article.
2. Print out your stories and share with others!
Most of these apps give you the ability to print out the stories via email or social media. Create a multi-sensory experience by having both the physical book and the e-book.
3. Create language and lesson plans with the books.
Take the book to the next level by making it into a language and learning lesson. Create questions, encourage problem-solving, and start classroom discussions. Ask questions such as “Why did you choose that character?” “How does this book make you feel?” etc.
Do YOU have any great storytelling apps to add to the list?
Leave your recommendations in the comments below!
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