Create Storytime provides five sets of thematic pictures for children to use to create their own imaginative ebooks. Users can type their own text to express themselves over and over again.
5 sets of 8 pictures included
3 sample stories included
Easily save unique stories
Collaborate with other writers
High degree of structure
Create Storytime is a quality app that will appeal to young authors. It includes a brief picture tutorial to get users started, but be sure to watch it first, because it seems to disappear and not be accessible once you begin writing. It is very easy to use, and young writers will quickly get the hang of the mechanics of the program. The pictures provided are high quality illustrations that lend themselves to story-telling, but there is no capability to bring your own photos into the book. This might make some users feel rather limited. Users can, however, mix and match illustrations from the different themed groups if desired. Text can be entered and edited on each page, but apparently there is no provision for deleting entire pages or whole books. This can be problematic if you accidentally insert a page as I did when I was experimenting with the app. The addition of an obvious “delete” system would likely be appreciated by young users as they change and adapt their stories.
This app has a lot of possibilities for education. Not only does it encourage children to tackle some complex written expression, it also allows them to work on sequencing, planning and a host of other important skills. By viewing the selection of pictures in advance, students can be encouraged to think out the plot for their story, allowing teachers and parents to help them understand the elements of plot. They will also be challenged to create a sensible sequence for the pictures. Writing a “mash-up” story that uses pictures from multiple thematic groups would be a great way to challenge creative thinking skills and really boost the self-expression skills.
One minor concern is that there are some grammar glitches in the sample stories, such as putting ending punctuation outside of quotation marks in conversation. It’s important to set an exemplary example for students, since they often imitate the things they see around them. Parents should also be aware that one sample story, “Mean Girls,” has the rather questionable solution to the problem of being bullied-the main characters retaliate by dumping muddy water on the offenders, then decide not to post the resulting video on the internet.
Many young writers will find a great deal of motivation in creating their very own professional-looking ebooks and then showing them off and rereading them. With no apparent limits on the number of books created or on their length, the app is likely to occupy budding authors for quite a while.
Some, however, may feel a bit limited by the structure provided by the themed pictures. Installed sets of pictures include a set about pirates, a set about interpersonal relations, a set about a lazy cat, one about a girl dreaming of being a rock star, and one about jungle animals having a fun day of play together. There are four other sets available as in-app purchases, but creative writers may feel “stuck” or cheated that they cannot write about gym class or community helpers, for example.
This app costs $1.99 in the App Store and includes five sets of 8 thematic images. Four additional sets are available for in-app purchases of ninety-nine cents each, so if you want the entire set, the current cost would be $5.95 plus tax. Given the somewhat limited nature of the app, the total cost for the app plus the in-app purchases may seem a little too pricey for some families or classrooms.
Create Storytime is child friendly. Developers did a good job of avoiding common pitfalls of similar apps by limiting sharing capabilities and access to the internet. There are visible in-app purchases, but these are protected by a complex addition problem.
Create Storytime is a fun and child-friendly app that will encourage creative writing in a rather structured way. Children can create professional-looking ebooks featuring their own ideas, but some may find it too limiting for extended play.