Read-Aloud Books


This section will include apps that provide independent story listening.

Entries into each section on this wiki will be structured so that this basic information is available. We will include the TITLE of the application, with a link to the broad description and rating on iTunes. The ICON is simply a screen shot of what will show up on the device. WHO describes the student you have used this particular app with. WHERE indicates whether the app was used at home, school, or in therapy. HOW describes the manner in which you used it. This is also the place to on other ideas for application. WHY/WHY NOT provides the contributer an opportunity to indicate the value of the app, whether they would use it again, and rationale for the opinion. We invite anyone else who has used the app to comment on anything about it... different whos, hows and whys....
ICON
TITLE
(WHAT)
APPLICATION
(WHO, WHERE, HOW)
VALUE
(WHY/WHY NOT)
COST





New Kid Icon 16.jpg
New Kid on the Block

What: New Kids on the Block is one of the fantastic titles from Wanderful, Inc, bringing the Living Books computer sets back to life for the iPad. New Kids presents 17 poems from the Jack Prelutsky book by the same title. It includes two basic modes:

Read To Me: This is an autoplay option, with word / phrase highlighting plus speech animations. Reads each page and advances to next.

Let Me Play: This option includes:

- Word / phrase highlighting plus speech and animations
- Page turning (forward and backward)
- Re-reading a line of the poem by clicking on the icon (e.g., banana for 40 Performing Bananas)
- Clicking on an individual word / phrase to hear it and see it animated

Who: I have used this app with:
a) Students who use AAC
b) People who stuggle with engagement
c) Students who need visual supports for vocabulary
This app is delightful for ‘children of all ages’. My teens and adults like it as much as the little ones. In fact, they probably appreciate it more because of the engaging language.

Why: I love poetry in all forms, but this format is absolutely delightful! Full disclosure, I must confess that I sometimes pull out this app when students are feeling particularly tired, overwhelmed, or just cranky. And I use it for far more than a reward, as you can see under the ‘How’ section.


Where: I’ve used this in several settings, mostly small groups in classrooms for, at a community event, and in homes with individual students.


How: This app can be used for many purposes, such as:

Commenting: this set is especially rich for commenting, as there are many interesting actions and objects)

Vocabulary Support: exploring pictures and seeing / hearing labels

Phonemic Awareness:

- Choosing Poems: I often offer choices by letter (B for ‘Forty Performing Bananas’; T for ‘When Tillie Ate the Chili”; F for ‘It’s Fangs Were Red’). I also just click through choices until a student let’s me know “That’s the one” using voice, head nod, or switch.

- Choosing Actions to Watch: Again, choose by letter. I just make this errorless, giving 3 letter choices on a whiteboard, then having students pick one. Ex: When Tillie Ate the Chili – Do you want to see Erupted (E); Gulped (G) or Fled Screaming (F). Note that this is errorless, but we are connecting to engaging meaning AND supporting vocabulary development. Ex: ‘You picked G. I think you want to see how she gulped.’

- Choosing Nouns To See Animated: Students can select a first sound, blend, or digraph to pick a noun (ex: sk – skins; sh – shoulders; ch – chins, for ’40 Performing Bananas.’


Tip: Only use Read To Me if the student is using the stories solo and does NOT have good use of hands. Otherwise, this is a great set of stories for interacting, and pausing so that students can use their voices and / or AAC devices.



Value:

This app is a great value for the price. While it is more than the typical $1.99 for an app, remember that it includes 17 animated poems!! The interactions make it rich to support speech and language development!
Value:

This app is a great value for the price. While it is more than the typical $1.99 for an app, remember that it includes 17 animated poems!! The interactions make it rich to support speech and language development!

40 bananas New Kid.jpg

Action animation: tango



Tillie erupt new kid.png

Action animation: erupted


Songs & Stories.jpg
Songs & Stories by Pink Fong
What: This app presents scores of books including classics such as Sleeping Beauty and Aesop’s Fables such as The Ant and the Grasshopper, and These song-stories present the following features:
a) Begin with an song-based story overview
b) Story has simplified presentation with 1-2 lines of text
c) Great voices
d) Engaging but somewhat busy graphics
e) Story is acted out with extensive animation

These stories are in video format with text and narration. You can only stop the action by pressing PAUSE.

Why: This set is very engaging for students who respond well to music and animation.

Who: I have used this with several students who find the topics (princess stories, adventure tales) interesting. The simplified text provides support. Students have been engaged by the melodies and the animations in this story.

Where: I’ve used this app in individual sessions in homes.

How: I used this app in many ways:
Read and Respond’ activity, as follows:
• I used the students AAC device to model throughout the book, such as:
- <Sleeping Beauty> SHE IS TIRED. SHE NEEDS SLEEP. SHE GO SLEEP (note – I would not model all of those sentences – just giving samples)
- <The Wild Swans – ‘There is an evil queen.’> SHE IS BAD. SHE IS MEAN.
• After we did story retelling, we took screenshots of pages and let students use them to support emergent writing. See more information on this task at:
Emergent Writing and PicCollage

• I also used the students AAC device to ask open-ended questions, such as:
- <Sleeping Beauty> WILL SHE GET UP?
- <Wild Swans> WHO IS THAT?

Supporting Phonics Instructions
• We also used the story to prompt for rimes (ex: -at / -ed), then did a visual word sort after reading the book. For example, following the story The Princess and the Pea we sorted for words such as: red / wed / fed /bed vs. sat / fat / brat. We then matched these words to screenshots from the story, using PicCollage. See directions at this blog:
PicCollage and Phonics

Tip: Have your older students who are beginning readers work in teams to re-write books for younger students. This gives a very authentic purpose for reading simple stories, then re-writing them and reading them again!

Submitted by: Caroline Ramsey Musselwhite
Additional Ideas:
Value: This is a very good free/ inexpensive app. My wish list includes:
1) Page turning option, rather than video (auto-play)
2) Less busy scenes

PicCollage words & scribble.jpg

onset rime in story.jpg
FREE
for samples
OM Penguin icon.jpg
Penguin's Family
What: This interactive story presents the following features:
a) Text that can be read aloud, autoplay, or by self
b) Words read as they are touched
c) Touching an object (penguin, waves, rocks, egg) results in enlarged text spoken label

This app has many settings changes, such as toggling on / off highlights, sound, swiping, etc.

Note: This is one of many similar stories.

Why: This book offers informational text, but with a narrative structure to make it more accessible. Books are developed for the Smithsonian Institution, so facts can be trusted.

Who: I have used this with small groups and individuals, in schools and homes.

How: This app has many settings changes, such as toggling on / off sound effects, tap-on pics, etc. Pages can also be recorded.

Submitted by: Dr. Caroline Ramsey Musselwhite
Additional Ideas:
OM Penguin text.png

Flora's Forext icon.jpg
Flora's Forest
What: This interactive story presents the following features:
a) Read-aloud text with lots of rhyming
b) A clever storyline
c) Highlighted text
d) Extensive animations

This app has very extensive settings changes, such as toggling on / off highlights, sound, swiping, etc.

Why: This book provides a clever story with many many opportunities for talking about the book, and making requests.

Who: I used this with a 10-year-old girl who uses an eye-gaze communication system. She was engaged by the rhyming and the animations in this story.

Where: I’ve used this app in individual sessions, at school and at home.

How: I used this app as a ‘Read and Respond’ activity, as follows:
• I used the students AAC device to model throughout the book, such as:
- <kite string breaks> UH OH! LOOK OUT!! IT GO UP (note – I would not model all of those sentences – just giving samples)
- <Flora goes into dark forest> DARK! SHE IS AFRAID!
• I also used the students AAC device to ask open-ended questions, such as:
- <monster jumps out> OOPS! WHAT DO YOU THINK?
- <2ND monster appears> WHO IS THAT?
• We also modeled requests for animation:
- <4 animals, different colors> GET BIG; or BET BLUE; or GET BUNNY
- <three monsters – each with different animation> WHAT COLOR DO YOU WANT?

Submitted by: Caroline Ramsey Musselwhite
Additional Ideas:
Value: This is a very good free app. My wish list includes:
1) Larger text box
2) Ability to turn music OFF
3) Less busy scenes

Flora's Forest sample.jpg
FREE
Little Crit OM icon.jpg
Little Critter Collection 1

What: Little Critter Colleciton # 1 is part of the OM (Oceanhouse Media) books. This set of 10 of the ‘Little Critter’ books (ex: Just Go to Bed, What A Mess, What a Bad Dream). Each book is available in three access modes:

• Read It To Me (child’s voice + word by word highlighting. Student can interact and turn pages)

• Read It Myself (No oral reading, but interaction available)

• Auto Play (reads in child’s voice & turns pages. No interaction available. Can’t escape until the book is read).

Features include:

• Extensive sound effects

• Spider & grasshopper hidden on each page to find for special sounds

• Touch / see / hear: When students touch on a key item, it is spoken and a large word label is presented. If the word is in the text, it is highlighted there as well

• Add-A-Voice: You can choose to record a voice on any page. The narrator’s voice is still available.

Who: I have used this app with:

a) Students who use AAC

b) People who are struggling speakers

It’s best for students who are under the age of 10

Where: I’ve used this in several settings, mostly small groups in classrooms for young students, at a community event, and in homes with individual students.

How: This app can be used for many purposes, such as:

• Literacy Support (exploring pictures and seeing / hearing labels)

• Commenting (this set is especially rich for commenting, as there are many interesting actions and objects)

• Talking About Feelings (this set is especially rich for feelings, as actions and objects are funny, scary, sad, exciting, etc)

• Listening for a Purpose (many of these books can support comprehension skills such as: listening for actions, feelings, settings, or objects)

• Adding Voice: Remember to use the voice feature to add the student’s voice, through natural speech or use of an AAC device!!

Tip: Only use AutoPlay if the student is using the stories solo and does NOT have good use of hands. Otherwise, this is a great set of stories for interacting, and pausing so that students can use their voices and / or AAC devices.



Submitted by: Caroline Ramsey Musselwhite

Additional Ideas:

Value:
This app is a great value for the price. While it is relatively expensive for an app, it is far less than buying 10 of the Little Critter books, and the interactions make it rich to support speech
and language development!

Little Crit Tap.jpg
$14.99
booksy_icon.jpg
Booksy

What: This app provides a bookshelf for books (2 free, others purchased) that can be read, word by word, in a format they call ‘assisted reading’. Turning on ‘listen’ mode places a listen button on each page.


Why: This app supports beginning readers in a number of ways - reading books to them for content learning, providing support for individual words, and giving parental feedback.

Who: This app is intended for beginning readers, in pre-K through 2nd grade. While I have used it with that group, the stories are engaging for older students who are beginning readers. For example, one student found this very helpful for working on print tracking – it was clear to see that she typically realized when she’d missed a word or an entire line, as she self-corrected quickly.

Where: I’ve used this in several settings, mostly in schools with small groups and with individual students.

How: This app is easy to use. There are a few tricks. For example:
• 1 finger up = get the control panel, to adjust brightness, record, etc.
• 2 finger slide, L to R = go back to bookshelf
Remember that you can record reading sessions for later playback. Also, Booksy gives parental reports (if desired) after each reading.

Comments: I really wish it didn’t show the level on the cover. The non-babyish content and voice mean that these books would be ideal for older students, but some students in double digits might be embarrassed by seeing that they’re reading a book titled ‘My First Science.’

Submitted by: Caroline Ramsey Musselwhite

Additional Ideas:

Value: This app has great value. At 99¢ per book, they are a fantastic deal!


booksy_screenshot1.jpg
$ .99
per book
with 2 books free
spinout_icon.jpg
Spinout Blue

What: This story-reading app provides high interest / low readability informational texts, with excellent photos. The stories are set up with excellent supports. Each set has two topics with 2 stories (ex: Blue = large machines and crocodiles).

Why: These stories provide excellent opportunities for older students who are beginning readers.

Who: I’ve used these stories with students from age 10 through high school, who have significant reading delays. Several of the students have moderate cognitive delays. I have also used the app with adults with cognitive delays. I have used it in classrooms, homes, and community settings. So far, I have had good reception of these stories.

How: Each of the 4 stories in the set has three levels:

a) Easy (1 line of text per page)

b) Medium (2 – 3 lines of text per page)

c) Hard (the same text as the medium level, but with highlighted words that link to more information)

Supports include:

1) Listening – stories are read with digital speech and red underlining (note: the reader has an Australian accent)

2) Listening to Words – individual words can spoken just by clicking on them

Submitted by: Caroline Ramsey Musselwhite

Additional Ideas:

spinout_screenshot_2.jpg

Value: While this is not a free or cheap app, it is well worth the price!

Note: At the ‘Hard’ level, the text that is linked to is more sophisticated and does not have graphic support. Thus, students might need to be paired with a more advanced reader to take advantage of this level.


spinout_screenshot1.jpg

ihowto-book_icon.jpg
iHowTo-Book

What: This app provides a set of step-by-step how to instructions for many tasks, such as: writing an e-mail, brushing hair, vacuuming, and painting a picture.

Why: This book provides a nice library of procedural tests, and reads in a very clear female voice. Pages can be re-read, or read one word at a time.

Who: This app is great for students who are beginning readers. The graphics and voice are age-respectful for older students.

Where: I’ve used this app in small group activities, and individual sessions, at school and at home.

How: This is a very simple app, without any tricks. You can press the play button to read the page fluently, or press to read one word at a time.

I would REALLY like to have the option of not having read-aloud when pages are turned. It would be extremely helpful if students could look at the text and try to read it first, clicking on difficult words, then press the play button to confirm or hear a fluent reading of the text.


ihowto-book_screenshot1.jpg

Submitted by: Caroline Ramsey Musselwhite

Additional Ideas:

Value: This is an excellent free app. The illustrations and voice quality are wonderful. I would also like to see the option of having text on a white box, so that words (while actually separate buttons), do not appear to be separate.

ihowto-book_screenshot_2.jpg
FREE
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I_like_books_icon.jpg
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I Like Books
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+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

What: This app includes 37 read-aloud stories for young children (e.g., I Like Cats, I Like Rocks, I Like Math). The app is both flexible and customizeable. Students can choose three options (all with very clear digitized speech):

a) Read to me: reads text as soon as the student turns the page, with highlighing. When touched, each word is spoken and highlighted.

b) Read by myself: The entire page is not read, but each word can be read by touching it.

c) Autoplay: Same as Read to me, except that pages turn automatically.

This app has very extensive settings changes, such as toggling on / off highlights, sound, swiping, etc.

Why: This app provides an extensive library for young children, and reads in a very clear female voice.

Who: This app is great for students who are not reading independently, as it supports print tracking and vocabulary development. I’ve used it with preschoolers and children up to age 8. After that age, I feel that stories are too young, but using them to support re-writing text is fantastic for older students! The autoplay feature is nice for students with very significant access issues, but should not be used otherwise, as students should have time to explore the pictures and print before turning the page.

Where: I’ve used this app in small group activities, and individual sessions, at school and at home.

How: Consider carefully the settings to make this app work ideally for your student. My favorite feature of this app is that each of the 37 stories is customizeable!!

That means that you can re-write and re-record each page. Happily, this does NOT overwrite the original story! I was especially pleased to note that words that were in the original vocabulary set can still be spoken when touched.

Tip: Have your older students who are beginning readers work in teams to re-write books for younger students. This gives a very authentic purpose for reading simple stories, then re-writing them and reading them again!


Submitted by: Dr. Caroline Musselwhite

Additional ideas/comments from others:

xx xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
This is an excellent free app. The photos and voice quality are wonderful.

My only wish is that the text box could be bigger when re-writing the books. I would also LOVE to see a similar set for older students, with topics and a voice that are more age-appropriate for older students.

i_like_books_screen_1.jpg

i_like_books_screen_3.jpg
zzzzz

FREE
meegenius_icon.jpg
MeeGenius

What: This app includes hundreds of books that are read aloud. You can download a few for free, then pay for additional books. Books include classics such as Rapunzel and current books such as ‘Clever Rachel.’ Features include:

• Digitized text, with a very clear woman’s voice

• Word-by-word highlighting with a yellow background highlighter

• Pause / resume (sadly, the pause button is large and centered over the text and pictures)

Why: This book provides an extensive library for young children, and reads in a very clear female voice.

Who: This app is great for students who are not reading independently, as it supports print tracking and vocabulary development. I’ve used it with preschoolers and children up to age 8 or 9. After that age, I feel that stories and voice will be too young for most students.

Where: I’ve used this app in small group activities, and individual sessions, at school and at home.

How: This is a very simple app, without any tricks. I have not found a way to turn off the speech (other than turning off the sound).

Submitted by: Caroline Ramsey Musselwhite

Additional Ideas:

Value: This is an excellent free app. The illustrations and voice quality are wonderful.

As with many other read-aloud apps, I would also LOVE to see a similar set for older students, with titles and a voice that are more age-appropriate for older students.


meegenius_screenshot_1.jpg
FREE
for about 5 books,
then books are sold
eparately
epic.PNG
Epic
I have used this app with children with Autism in a school setting.
There is a huge assortment of books to choose from; fiction to nonfiction, photos to cartoons, picture books to chapter books, well known books to hidden gems.
This app does not read the book aloud, it encourages children to find an adult to read the books to them or to explore the books on their own.
Submitted by: Alison Rumball
Additional Ideas:
I only have the Educator Version (I am not sure if it differs from the original version). For me the app is worth it, my students will look at new books and explore well loved books within this app.
Free for the first month and then $4.99 per month thereafter

Educators Click Here for a Free Offer: Epic For Educators.