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Literacy Apps

Multimedia Composition

Many elementary schools are now integrating multimedia reading, writing, and presentation into their English language arts and content area curriculum. Students are learning to use different media — including audio, information graphics, slideshows, animation, and video — to create their own stories, understand a story, text, or topic more deeply, and share what they have learned with others. We've found a number of apps that give kids practice in using simple multimedia tools for development, editing, and social sharing.

Quotable Quotes: The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more you learn, the more places you'll go. -- Dr. Seuss

Book Creator

Price: Free
Grade level: 3rd, 4th, 4th and above
Skill: Multimedia Composition, Writing
Device: Android, iPad, iPhone, iPod Touch

Simple app lets kids craft their own books to read or share.

Pictello

Price: $18.99
Grade level: K, 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 4th and above
Skill: Multimedia Composition, Print awareness, Writing
Device: iPad, iPhone, iPod Touch

Pictello allows the user to create "talking" books with pictures — students can make their own story that is personal to them.

Shadow Puppet Edu

Price: Free
Grade level: 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 4th and above
Skill: Multimedia Composition
Device: iPad, iPhone, iPod Touch

Shadow Puppet Edu is a slide-show creation tool designed to help kids create presentations. All the resources they might want are included and accessible from within the app, such as images from museums, Flickr, and their own camera rolls. Kids can share their creations by email or message as well as through apps connected on the device, such as YouTube and Twitter. 

TeleStory

Price: Free
Grade level: 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 4th and above
Skill: Multimedia Composition
Device: iPad, iPhone, iPod Touch

TeleStory is a video-creation tool that gives kids a background scene, face-detecting costumes, cue cards, and special effects to create their own themed TV shows. A kid can become a singing contest star, à la American Idol, or serve on a Star Trek-style spaceship. Videos then can be saved to the camera roll and shared from there or published on TeleStory's moderated video channel, ToonTube.

Tell About This

Price: $2.99
Grade level: Pre-K, K, 1st
Skill: Comprehension, Multimedia Composition, Writing
Device: iPad

Photo and word prompts inspire storytelling; app records the results.

Toontastic

Price: Free
Grade level: K, 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 4th and above
Skill: Multimedia Composition, Writing
Device: iPad

Toontastic is a creative learning tool that empowers kids to draw, animate, and share their own stories through imaginative play. Toontastic teaches key storytelling principles. Children are walked through creating the story arc: setup, conflict, challenge, climax, or resolution. Creating a story is as easy as putting on a puppet show — children simply press the record button, move the characters onscreen, and tell their stories. Once they're're done, Toontastic will play back their animation and voice as a cartoon for them to share with friends and family.

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Maria Salvadore
Maria Salvadore

Start with a Book: Read. Talk. Explore.

"So please, oh PLEASE, we beg, we pray, go throw your TV set away. And in its place you can install, a lovely bookshelf on the wall." — Roald Dahl