Storytelling with Apps
Storytelling is a classic childhood activity. There are few things that draw a family together like getting the kids in their pajamas and snuggling up for a bedtime story. It’s even more rewarding when a child begins to make up his own stories. But some children with speech disorders have difficulty organizing words and sentences into a logical narration. A child with a language sequencing problem may narrate the key points of a story in an inappropriate order. He may also order words incorrectly within a sentence. Similarly, a child with an expressive language disorder struggles to choose the correct words and put them together logically.
Work with your child’s speech-language pathologist (SLP) to develop home-based speech therapy activities to encourage your child’s progress. The SLP may also recommend a few apps that can help your child learn to connect words and narrate stories.
Toontastic is a free app that is suitable for young children who may not be able to read yet. Children choose the settings of their stories, such as a princess’ castle or a pirate ship. They add characters and music. They learn how to put the scenes in order to tell a complete story. The app features brightly colored animations. For best results, work with your child to help him choose the scenes that are suitable for the beginning, middle, and end of the cartoon.
This app, available for $2.99, offers a bit more flexibility than Toontastic. Children can create their own picture books. They may choose to make up their own story or the app can help guide them through the process. Children who have difficulty with narration can answer a series of simple questions and the app will create a story tailored for them. Children can also select from over 800 illustrations to create their stories or they may choose to import their own photos. Children may choose to add their own text or use text that is suggested by the app.
This free app incorporates verbal speech in the storytelling process, making it ideal for children who need to work on vocalization as well as narration. Children create their own stories by importing photos or “drawing” on the device. They can arrange the illustrations in a logical order, add text, and record sound to narrate the text or for use as sound effects. Children who need a little extra help getting started with their stories can use scans of four classic children’s books (including “The Three Little Pigs”). They can rearrange the original story, add new characters, and add new story lines.
This app, available for $0.99, is ideal for the little superhero in your life. Pint-sized fans of Batman and Spiderman can create their own comic strips, complete with text bubbles. This app does not appear to have any photos or illustrations available in a library. Users must import their own photos to create the comic strip.
This app, available for $1.99, may be ideal for children with very short attention spans. Instead of creating an entire storybook, children can create their own movie trailers. They can select from prerecorded audio clips, use their own photos, and create their own scenarios to develop short descriptions of imaginary movies. The prerecorded audio clips use the voice of Jonathan Cook, a voice actor who has narrated countless trailers. Parents should be warned that not all content is appropriate for children; however, the app comes equipped with parental controls.