Mr. Glue Stories by Chadlington ABC Enterprises LTD is a leveled reader app that lets you choose stories based on categories and reading ability. The app features three levels of reading: easy, medium and hard. After opening each story, you type in your name and choose your gender. The storybook opens and you can “choose your own items” to fill in the blanks. For example, you can choose the type of home you live in and then paint and color in the studio for the pages. My son choose a “houseboat” by clicking on the image – in various places his name was mentioned in the text of the story which helped him engage as the story was about him. After completing the story in the “record mode” which means you can choose items to fill in the blanks, coloring/painting and recording your voice. After completing the story it is “glued” together and you can play it back, save it and share it as well. You can also choose to purchase a printed copy of the book complete with your edits, art and various choices within the story.
After you finish editing the pages with art, you can then record the text and make your own sound effects using the microphone on your device. My son enjoyed helping me make the various sound effects, but had trouble reading the story (even the “easy level” because it didn’t have sight words he knew). It made for a fun interactive activity for both of us to engage with the story and read along while recording it. To share the story, there is a parental gate which then you answer a math problem and it is emailed out. You do not need to have the app loaded on the person who is getting the book so they can listen to it. We also really enjoyed coloring in the pages and putting our art touches in. My son drew on the various pages using both his finger and stylus – and colored in the illustrations.
My son and I are working on his reading this year he’s a first grader – and he reads to me for a half hour every night. In this app, he and I created several books and then I went back and recorded the text. That way we can either listen to them together and sound out the “hard words” and it helps him engage with the story as he had a part in choosing the different pieces plus he can see his name in the text.
In terms of improvements, it would be nice if when you choose something if it would speak the text of what you are choosing so that kids who are early readers will be able to hear what they are choosing as well as see it. I’d also like to see some simpler books that use more sight words especially for emerging readers. That would help them “glue” and put the story together and understand it more fully. As a note, if you do not record the text while in the recording studio, it is not read out to you by the narrator – I’d like to see a reminder of this before you save the book so you can go back and do it. I would love a way to “pass back and forth” the book so one person could do the narration and another could do the coloring which would engage kids into the story further. You can do this if you use the same iPad but it does not appear to be a feature if you use separate devices.
This free app is a great way to personalize stories for your little ones which can be customized to their wants and printed out. I loved the idea of making the artwork and narration and sharing it with my son as we worked on our nightly reading projects. Having the text and ability to add in our own sound effects and narration encouraged him to listen to the story to see what he could learn based on what he was hearing as well as the pictures he saw. I would say this is for an older elementary school aged child, simply because a younger child will need significant parental involvement to create the story with narration.
NOTE: A fee was received to expedite this review to the top of our waiting list but this payment has not influenced the objectivity of the review and all opinions have been offered honestly.