Storybot is a story-making app that allows the user to create an unlimited amount of stories using photos. Stories are then broken down word by word for the child to rebuild. Children build stories by tapping on cloud-words in the correct order. There is a selection of robot voices that are used to read the words aloud.
What Emily Liked
Conceptually, I appreciate that this app is recreating existing classroom practice that is seen in many early childhood classrooms. There are many important emergent literacy skills that are focused on including print directionality, sight words, word versus sentence, and fluency. With adult support, children are exposed to, and can work on many important skills.
I love the fact that the app uses real pictures, thus encouraging parents and children to create stories about known events. For young children, it is easier for them to compose stories about things that they know, and the use of photos supports this skill.
As children interact with the created stories, I appreciate that the speed level of the cloud can be regulated. My 4 year old was bored with the clouds on the slow speed, but loved the challenge of finding words once the clouds were moving more quickly.
As always, when considering apps for young children, this app is safe with no links out of the app to social media or iTunes.
While this app has much to offer, I feel that it could be strengthened further. My biggest complaint is the robot voices. While I understand that the app is based on the robot concept, I found them to be difficult to hear. It is a fun feature that the voices can be changed, but this doesn’t overcome the fact that they are all robot voices. Other than being difficult to hear, these voices don’t model reading fluency, which I think is important in an activity lie this.
I love the way that this app takes sentences and breaks them into words for children to put in correct order. There are a few things that could make this activity more accessible for young emergent readers. First, if an adult makes the book, then the child does not know the sentence that he is being asked to create. If the target sentence could be spoken aloud to give the child some guidance, that would be useful.
I was disappointed that the cloud word ordering activity was the only interactive element to engage in once the books are created. I wish that the books could also be read like a typical ebook.
With regards to the way the app actually works, I was frustrated that I had to tap to continue after each word is placed. The actual image and text that instructs you to “tap to continue” is very faint, and both children that worked with this app did not see it. Even knowing that the image was there, I still couldn’t always see it. I would recommend removing this step after each word, but the image should at least be brightened.
Additionally, after selecting the appropriate word, that word is added to the bottom of the screen in a different color. As the clouds for the next word appear, this word remains highlighted, which is a bit confusing. One child I worked with, kept trying to find the word that matched the highlighted word.
Overall, Storybot is a story-making app that encourages children to look beyond the sentence-level text through its word ordering activity.
To learn more about this app, you can check the complete features of StoryBot or Download it below.
Developer provided promo codes to facilitate the review.