Reviewed by Mary
StoryPals is an iPad only app created by Eric and Kelly Sailers. Eric is a Speech Language Pathologist (SLP) and the developer of Artikpix. It is an app for working on listening and reading comprehension, and can also be used for story creation. It includes twenty-four stories with narration, interactive elements and comprehension questions, plus the ability to create your own stories. The included stories are suitable for elementary school age children, but you can create your own stories for any age group. The app also includes a very detailed 70-page tutorial on how to use it.
The included stories are graded by readability level from 2-6 (using Flesch-Kincaid Grade Level Formula), so once you find a story at the right level for your child you can find others at the same level and then gradually increase the difficulty. There is a read by myself option and two read to me options – either narrated by a professional narrator or by Acapela text-to speak (TTS). TTS mode includes word highlighting and you can also change the speech rate, and add or edit pronunciations. The text size can also be changed. Each story comes with 10 WH comprehension questions – who, what, why, where and when. They are multiple-choice questions and in the settings you can opt to choose from 2, 3 or 4 answer choices. You can select up to six students to take the quiz. Both the question and answer choices can be listened to using TTS. If they choose the right answer they get a thumbs up and a correct answer sound, an incorrect answer triggers a different sound and the thumb up appears next to the correct answer. The app records the comprehension scores for each student, broken down by story, date/time and type of question, and there is also a place to write notes. Many of these stories highlight a particular phoneme (letter sound), so are useful for working on articulation practice or phonics awareness also. For example here is an excerpt from Bea and the Bubblegum: ” Toby always bugged his sister Bea. He loved to hide Bea’s bear cub and bump her on the head”. Other stories have a moral in the tale such as not to judge someone by appearances. Each story has one illustration and includes simple interactive elements, which trigger animations (and sound bites) that are relevant to the story. The animations can be switched off in settings.
The app also includes the ability to create your own stories. Firstly you can duplicate included stories – and edit the text, illustrations or quiz as you wish. The duplicated story also allows the option to record the text, which is great for articulation practice or just for letting a student practice reading aloud and hearing themselves played back. You can also use TTS for these stories. As well as duplicating included stories the app gives you some great tools for creating your own. You can use one of your own photos as a background or choose from twenty-four included backgrounds. There are also people, animals and objects that you can add to the picture, these can be adjusted to the size you want and some of them include interactive animations (these are labeled). You can add your own text and quiz, and the app collects records the scores for these quizzes too. There is also an option to import or export stories (including quizzes), so you can share stories you create with other users of the app. It contains no ads, in-app purchases or social media links. The one thing I would like to see in a future update is the ability to create multi-page stories that can include more than one illustration (currently you can have longer text but only one illustration per story).
This is a really great flexible tool, allowing you to create stories to work on any area that the child needs help in, and targeted to their particular interests. It is nice that it gives you the ability to include animations, which help engage the student, and that it is easy add quizzes and record information on the results. I think it would also be a great tool to use with older students to encourage them to create pictures and write their own stories about the pictures.
Overall, the included stories are a great way to work on comprehension and articulation practice, however he thing that really makes the app stand out for me is the ability to create your own stories. I think if you are willing to invest the time in making stories this is a really great flexible tool that has a myriad of uses both for teachers, Speech Language Pathologists, home schoolers and even parents who just want to work more with their children outside the classroom. It includes the tools to make your own pictures with animations, write your own text, have the words highlighted as it is read, create multiple choice comprehension questions plus the ability to record and playback your own narration- making this a great choice for those who want to make their own stories. It can be used for speech and articulation practice, writing social stories, creative writing assignments, learning new vocabulary, listening and re-telling a story, and listening and reading comprehension. Highly recommended.
Requirements: Compatible with
Size: 0 MB
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