Most of you will know by now that my 4 year old, Harley would rather run around outdoors (even in the rain) than sit down quietly with a book. He loves a story or 2 at bedtime and really enjoys talking about the characters or guessing what will happen next but I can’t for the life of me, get him to choose to sit with a book, during the day.
He will openly say that he doesn’t like it when they have to sit in the reading corner at pre-school, “It’s boring” is always his reply. In truth, this really upsets me. I want him to grow up getting lost in a story; I want him to swallow a wealth of vocabulary; I simply want him to enjoy reading.
I firmly believe that this is the age where we need to instill a love of reading, or perhaps a love of sitting with a book and following the pictures, if we want children to relish a good book when they are older.
I have to say that I have found a secret weapon, which I think will encourage Harley to run up to his bookshelf and readily pick a book for me to read to him!
Well, ok, maybe not me… but my favourite online shop Not On The High Street have come up with a nifty little app which truly does bring picture books to life.
Available for free download on the itunes app store, the team from notonthehighstreet say, “Back in the Summer we launched an app for the iPhone called ‘Storytime Sounds’. The app is free to download from the app store and is designed to bring an extra element of fun to story time for families with kids aged 3-7.”
The app consists of 6 different soundboards for different themes:
The sounds are extremely clear and effective. In each soundboard the sounds are:
* magic spell *galloping horse * clap of thunder * swords clashing * witch’s cackle * trumpet fanfare * kissing a frog * fire breathing dragon * ‘Ta Dah’
* Elephant’s trumpet * rattle snake * monkey * beating of a drum * blow dart * erupting volcano * dinosaur roar * dinosaur stamping * dinosaur squawk
* roar * hiccups * burp * laugh * bang * stamp * snap *confused * cry
* ‘Argghh’ * canon * waves * whale blowing water * cutlass clashing * parrot squawk * treasure coins * crab’s claws snipping * rowing a boat
* 3,2,1 lift off * laser beam * spaceship beam * martian * shooting star * alien * jetpack takeoff * airlock * ‘Roger that’
and the latest soundboard to be added is for
* ‘Mwahaha’ Dracula * creaking door * ‘Oooh’ ghost * bubbling cauldron *rattling skeleton * cat screeching * flapping bats * wolf howling *Dracula’s organ
I deliberately didn’t tell Harley about the app before we used it. As it is nearly Halloween, we used this soundboard first for when we read a super Halloween picture book:
Before using the soundboard, I quickly looked through the sound effects available and chose the ones that I thought would fit our story well. As we read the story together, I pressed the buttons to create the sound effects at aptly timed points throughout the story. Wow, I wish I could have captured every time his eyes lit up in sheer delight, as he heard the bats flapping around him, the skeleton bones rattling in the story and the ghostly noises coming from the book. It was magic.
Once we had read the story, Harley inevitably wanted to press the buttons and have a go himself. He loved the creaking door and mimicked Dracula’s evil laugh for hours after!
When he flicked through the other soundboards, he suddenly rushed upstairs to his room, totally unprompted and brought down another book that he wanted to read:
‘The Pirate-Cruncher’, perfect for the pirate sound effects.
The Storytime Sounds app is so easy to use and the sounds are extremely effective. Absolutely perfect for helping to bring a story to life.
As a teacher myself, I can really see the added benefits of an app such as this. My class are perhaps a little too old for this but if I was a teacher in a Preschool, Reception or a Key Stage 1 teacher, I would most certainly attach it to the speakers of an interactive whiteboard during storytime. That would be brilliant. You could also use the soundboards for role play to add sound effects to imaginative play.
The app is designed for iPhone or iPad and can be downloaded from iTunes if you click here.
What a fab little app, perfect for a range of story genres and catering for both genders.
I think we’ll read a fairytale tomorrow.
Disclaimer: I was asked by the team at Mumsnet to review this app, all words and opinions are my own.
UPDATE ALERT….. I’m so thrilled to just be sent a gorgeous video of a friend’s daughter who felt that in her words, she was ‘rubbish at writing’ and who used the storytime app as inspiration. She wrote her own short story and whilst reading her story aloud, she used the sound effects on the fairytale soundboard. It was lovely to see her beaming smile at the end, proud of the story she had written. Yet another great use for this fab app.