Many students will spend a condsiderable amount of time this summer traveling to home countries, visiting relatives in another state, or simply waiting patiently while Mom is in the laundromat or shopping. And during that time, many of them will be using their parents' mobile devices to entertain themselves. Check out the list of iOS apps below to see how kids can use that downtime to become well-read, digital storytellers. And when autumn rolls around, let them show you what they did this summer 21st century fashion.
These moblie audio books cost $9.99 per month. Show parents the Tales2Go one-month free trial offer; suggest they pay $9.99 for just one month and they'll have access to thousands of great audio books that the whole family can enjoy anywhere for the entire summer.
Once students have listened to a few mentor texts with Tales2Go, they will be ready and eager to create their own audio books. I Tell A Story ($0.99) allows young audio book creators to add sound effects from iTunes or the I Tell A Story sound library. The app is especially fun for recording silly or scarey Round Robin stories on long family trips.
Kids stuck on a plane, train, or in a crowded automobile will be happy and well-read with interactive Storia e-books. Parents can download five free e-books, track their child's reading time and activities with the app's reading manager, and find nonfiction material that will entice any reluctant reader.
(For young male readers, start their bookshelf off with Melvin Berger's Chomp! A Book About Sharks ($5.99). My kindergarten, 1st, 2nd and 3rd grade boys are obsessed with Chomp! The narration option, shark video, and vocabulary/comprehension games have some of the most challenged readers continually asking me to download new nonfiction for our devices.)
Got an e-reader? Then you've got an e-writer. Twenty-first century students have the chance to create texts just as professional looking as books from e-publishing companies. StoryKit is my k-5 students' favorite e-book creator; they can easily add text, photos, and illustrate and narrate their books in less than an hour. During free time, students have easily created chapter books, chock-full of rich vocabulary thanks to StoryKit. Don't be scared off by the vintage-looking e-covers on the StoryKit's opening screens — the app is incredibly kid-friendly and fun. Plus, it's free!
If you have serious illustrators in your classroom, check out Scribble Press. This book-creating app has hundreds of drawing tools and dozens of story templates.
Students love Toontastic because they can create animation with a variety of playsets and add music and credits to the animated stories very easily. Teachers like Toontastic because it pushes young writers/animators to follow a story arc.
6. Comic Life
This app is a must for the budding Stan Lee or Charles Schultz in your classroom. Comic Life's ($4.99) pre-designed templates make it easy to add photos or drawings to create professional looking comics.
Share your own favorite apps or other enticements that get kids excited about reading and writing.