StoryPals and StoryPals Basic by Eric Sailers (the SLP who developed ArtikPix) are apps that parents, teachers or therapists can use to help children develop and practice both their listening and reading comprehension skills. The main difference between the two apps is that the Basic version doesn’t include Text-to-Speech (TTS). TTS is a feature definitely worth having if you envisage creating your own stories.
Let me quickly outline the huge amount of content you get for this price:
- 24 original, professionally narrated stories
- TTS with word highlighting in the full version of the app
- All the stories are illustrated with interactive artwork
- Each story includes a 10 question quiz containing WH questions (who, what, where, when, why) to assess comprehension
- Multiple profiles so you can track the progress of more than one child, and results can be exported
- Loads of customization options
- The ability to add your own stories and you can download additional free stories and quizzes from ericsailers.com
At any time you can access the in-app manual, which consists of 70 annotated screenshots, by tapping the ‘?’ button at the top left of the screen.
The stories included in the app range in readibility levels from a level 2 to a level 6. There is an option in settings which, if selected, shows you what level of difficulty the story is.
The other settings options include things like muting the music, turning off or adjusting TTS, font size choices, whether to allow interactive elements or show visual prompts, backup or restore backups and export your own stories or import others.
Below is an example of readability level 4 story. You can see the visual prompt indicating an interactive element at the bottom left, pointing to the mother snail. When you first open a story you can press the play arrow to hear it read out loud or press the TTS button for the text-to-speech option. I have TTS selected here and you can see the words are highlighted as read.
Once the story is completed then press the Quiz button at the top right of the page. Select which child is being tested and how many multiple choice options you want presented – from 2 to 4. As you can see, the child gets immediate feedback with respect to whether the question was answered correctly or not.
Lastly, take a look at how easy it is to create your own stories and quizzes. You can select background and/or individual elements from the stories included in the app. If these elements are interactive then they will be interactive in your story as well. In addition, you can add your own photos from the camera roll or take pictures from your device to use.
A must-buy for teachers I think but parents, I would also consider buying this app while it’s on sale. The 24 stories included are fun and colourful and the quizzes are short and a great way to discern if your child is understanding stories. Perhaps your child’s reading comprehension is excellent but their listening comprehension is poor – because this app can test both, separately, this would be a great way for determining if your child has, for example, auditory processing problems. In the reverse situation, where their listening comprehension skills are strong but their reading comprehension is poor, this could indicate further testing might be required in order to determine possible vision problems or learning disabilities like dyslexia.
This app would also be enjoyed by any and all children as it easily gives them the ability to create their own illustrated stories, by recording a story, typing one out or both.
Highly recommended at this price point.