An important rule in implementing comprehensive literacy instruction is that children need to be presented with multiple opportunities to write for multiple purposes (click here to read a great post from Caroline on the 3 T’s of Writing). When I reflect on my own day, I can include communication through text message and social media as two of my main forms of written expression. I made a Facebook Status Writing Activity a few months ago, and wanted to explore text messaging apps for kids next. I downloaded Roo Kids and PlayKids Talk, but will only be sharing information about Roo Kids, due to the security features of PlayKids Talk preventing Amanda and I from trying it (PlayKids Talk uses a photo of the user’s parent to determine if they are old enough to use the app and apparently Amanda does not pass for over 21).
Have you tried Story Bots yet? You MUST! This website has a collection of storybooks and videos that you can personalize with pictures of your child! There is a great collection of “learning videos” featuring the ABCs, numbers, colors, animals, professions, body parts, etc. But, the best part of this website is having your child’s photo and name in the stories. Though it lacks audio text (parents, educators, or students must read the story aloud), the children I have used it with have loved it! They get so excited to see their face in the story. It’s a great way to engage your child’s interest in reading. The clever animations and text in the stories lend themselves to making predictions about what will happen next and other higher order questions.
You can sign up for free; however, you will have limited access to the stories and videos. In order to have access to the full library (over 200 books!) and videos, you can sign up for a membership. The membership cost per year is $36 ($3/month) or you can sign up for a monthly membership for $5/ month. Once you have a membership, you can add characters by uploading a picture and name.
Free Membership – What’s Included? vs. Paid Membership
Story Bots also has 10 apps that can be downloaded on your iPad for free. You can also use a limited number of features on the app and upload pictures of your child. If you have a paid membership with the website, that transfers to the apps and allows you to access the unlimited features of the app (i.e. more books, more videos, more characters).
I purchased the membership myself last month and have used it countless times already! I love it, the children I work with love it, and I think you will too!