Little Story Maker App: Listening, Reading, Customizing, Personalizing

I am completely impressed with the “Little Story Maker” App by Grasshopper Apps. (Thank you to Karen Lirenman, a first Grade teacher from Surrey, BC, Canada)

I happen to visit my little niece in Canada this past week. Sophia is 8 years old and just moved to Canada 6 months ago from Brazil. She is learning English as her third language (Her parents speak Spanish with her).  We took a ride to the Niagara Falls while we visited. Upon returning, I wanted to take the opportunity to test the app out. Sophia and I decided to create a book about our little adventure during the Niagara Falls visit.

In the app, we added a story.

Then added the title of the story, added a cover image from the photo album and chose the template with the biggest image layout (I hope that a future update will bring more template layouts with multiple images as choices.)

We kept adding pages with images and text for each page.

The app allows you to have the book read to you, read it by yourself of set it to AutoPlay, which is really nothing new and most children’s book apps have the same feature.

Where the customization comes in, is the fact, that you not only can enter you own text, then record your own voice  (in any language of course) AND have individual words highlighted as it is being read!

(Imagine the possibilities in the foreign language classroom…using subtitle text in one language to trick your brain into understanding the spoken word- a trick that helped me tremendously as I was learning Spanish as a teenager in Argentina.)

You an also tap individual words to hear them individually pronounced in your recorded voice.

Another bonus feature is the ability to add “highlights” to the picture. You add text to areas of the image, which you want to pop up as you tap on that area of the image in addition to an audio recording of that pop-up text. (Oh, the possibilities…)

I really like the app and see so much potential for the early elementary school classroom (or children at home). The features give endless opportunities to:

  • differentiate learning levels
  • personalize topics and media content to engage children
  • allow students to create their own books or design for peers, younger students or siblings

What would I ask the developer to fix/tweak/change/add?:

  • app freezes when we got to the last page and tapped on the “next page” button
  • add more templates to be able to add multiple images to one page
  • a way to export and share the finished book (as an ePub file? or possibly to another iPad that has the app installed?)
  • allow collaborative way for a classroom or family to create a book together (ex. each student creates a page on their favorite reptile, pet, an artist or holiday, etc.)

I used the iPad app checklist below. Please be advised that I ticked off  the items, that satisfied the ideas I had in mind for the use of the app. I am sure, your own imagination and ideas would allow you to have additional items checked off