Photo Tales - Create photo stories with your kids
By altering the sentences that make up the stories contained in this app and adding their own drawings and photographs, children can begin to build their creative writing skills. Fully functional and containing one story in its free form, in-app purchases can expand the number of stories.
As children develop their reading skills they are expected to begin to move beyond reading the words of others and to start to develop their own writer’s voice. Faced with a blank page, this can be a daunting task and so we often provide an outline or supporting structure so that children can begin to put their own imaginations into words. Photo Tales works like this but with the added support and outlets for creativity that an app can offer.
The app can be expanded with further purchases, but in its basic form users can make full use of its functions, albeit restricted to a single story type. This is certainly enough to appraise the app and actually enough to give a child a fun and creative writing lesson.
The first choice that children make is what story to tell. A few are possible with the full app, covering days out, birthdays and favourite possessions as well as a blank one for a totally original creation, but in the basic version they are given ‘A Happy Summer Vacation’ as the theme for their writing.
This story is made up of 12 pages, each of which has a caption and space for up to three pictures, some graphical images and some doodles. New images can be taken with the device’s camera, imported from pictures already resident on the device, or drawn using the simple drawing tools built into the app. Each option is easy to select and utilise. As users of this app are not yet likely to be secure in their reading skills, the app is navigable using a consistent set of pictorial icons.
The captions are not all editable but those that are employ a very nice facility to change their structure. Rather than rewrite them from scratch, certain parts of the sentence can be rewritten. In particular, this is excellent for helping children to see that different parts of a sentence must match. A good example of this is found on the second page of the story which is originally captioned: ‘Two happy children got up to start summer vacation’. Users of this app can change the first three words, adjusting the number, the adjective and the noun. If the first word is changed to indicate only one child, the third word must indicate that it now refers to the singular. This controlled caption system limits creativity somewhat but supports the learning of sentence structuring very well.
This app is still actively being developed by the creator who has many years of experience teaching children and recent additions have greatly improved it. Stories can be saved on the device and distributed in the universally accessible PDF format. Children will enjoy being able to surprise their parents with their work appearing in their parent’s email in-box. Another particularly useful addition, and one that schools can make good use of, is that multiple users can now save versions of the same story framework. This on-going development is a strong point in favour of the app as users can be assured of its support going into the future.
The well-executed mix of creativity and literacy development that is possible in this app make it both entertaining and educational. Parents, teachers and children will all find it a worthwhile one to explore.
From the Developer
April 2015 Silver Award winner for "Best App for Children and Toddlers" by BestMobileAppAwards.com
Photo Tales is a reading app that lets your family create memories with your kids through customizable stories.
An innovative reading app that uses personal photos set to a story that can be modified to make reading fun and enjoyable. Imagine being able to create personalized stories by modifying the set story to suite your own personal taste and personal photos as the story illustration. The stories and photos can be changed each time so you are not stuck reading the same story time and time again.
A variety of stories are available to entertain and promote creativity and imagination.
"A Happy Birthday" - Create a story about that special day that happens once a year.
"A Happy Morning" - A story about how great waking up in the morning can be to the rest of the day.
"A Happy Day at the Zoo" - This is a story about the adventure that only a trip to the zoo brings.
"My Favorite Shoes" - A story about looking for your favorite shoes that is lost in the house.
"A Happy Summer Vacation" - This is the story about that magical time call "Summer Vacation."
- Ability to take photos with the device camera or use photos from the photo album.
- Change key words in the set story to personalize the story.
- Change the background color of the story.
- Photo cropping feature.
-Ability to draw on the photos.
-Option to change languages: English, Chinese, Hindustani, Spanish, Russian, German, Bengali, Portuguese, Malay-Indonesian, French, and Japanese