We often think of apps as fun distractions for ourselves and our children but tablets offer an almost unimaginable number of educational options for students of all ages. The Apple iPad has taken the lead in app offerings that are easy to use and genuinely useful as teaching tools, especially in learning language and reading skills. There are several ways to use iPad apps to teach and reinforce reading and writing skills but storyboard apps are some of the most fun to use.
Young children can use storyboard apps such as Story Creator to write their very own books. The free version of the app includes lots of fun options that allow kids to add pictures, stickers, and text or they can narrate the story if they are not ready to type words. An upgrade to the $1.99 version includes the option to make photo albums and scrapbooks from images saved on the iPad, Dropbox, or Facebook. Children can create stories using images of people they know or write a story all about themselves as a baby.
Book Creator is another app option for younger kids that not only allows similar story creation capabilities but also includes comic book templates and audio and video options in the $4.99 version. Imagine how much fun a 7-year-old could have creating his own comic book without even realizing that he is practicing advanced planning and fine motor skills, reading, writing, spelling, and vocabulary.
The audio options on Story Creator and Book Creator give even young children the power to write a story without help from an adult or teacher; autonomy and self-motivation are skills that can’t be taught but can be encouraged. Young children can place pictures or stickers on pages and then add audio descriptions of the story all on their own after a bit of direction.
Older kids and teenagers can utilize the photo, scrapbook and collage options in the Story Creator and Book Creator apps to create memory books, photo albums, or family history projects. Again, students will be practicing advanced planning, technology skills, reading, writing, spelling and vocabulary while using their creativity to make something they can proud of.
Photo projects on the storyboard apps are appealing but older kids might prefer something a little more advanced for their writing endeavors. Writer’s Block is targeted to older elementary students and teens; the app provides a platform for kids to start a collaborative story that can be added to by others. Access to the story can be limited to approved participants or opened up to anyone with the app; there are parental controls available to help keep kids safe while using the app. Writer’s Block can be downloaded for free but does include in-app purchases.
My Writing Desk is geared towards children who are more serious about their writing endeavors; it features an uncluttered screen and enhanced keyboard with the tools used most often in writing. The app also features an easy way to sync documents to Google Docs and costs $4.99. Students interested in writing poetry, short stories, or even novels may prefer this more mature app.
Storyboarding apps are a fun and easy way to introduce language concepts, reinforce vocabulary or spelling words, and encourage creativity in children of all ages. A little research will uncover a storyboarding app option that is right your child.
Mimi Rothschild is a veteran homeschooling mother of 8, writer of a series of books called Cyberspace for Kids, and passionate advocate for children and education that is truly worthy of them. In 2001, Mimi and her late husband founded Learning By Grace, a leading provider of online Christian homeschooling Academies.