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Reviews

Reviews

Storytelling Apps named as Winners for UK National Education Awards
January 2015

BETT-AWARDS-WINNER-LOGO-2015

Day Two Productions has been awarded a prestigious Bett award in the ‘Early Years Digital Content’ category. Coinciding with Bett, the world’s largest technology in education show, the awards are considered the highest accolade in the industry.

The Bett Awards play a key role in identifying and rewarding innovative ICT resources and services for use in education. Day Two Productions won the award for its Traditional Storyteller app, designed to develop a child’s love of stories.

The judges were very impressed with the different traditions and mixed ethnicities offered through the resource. They commented, “The Traditional Storyteller app provides valuable user guidance and information, offering a wide flexibility of applications. We like the use of a child’s voice for instructions; it certainly enables effective learning and is very good value for money.”

Available worldwide exclusively through Apple’s App Store, the range has been designed to introduce children to the wonder of stories.

Eve Bearne, a literacy expert and formerly of Cambridge University, carried out a study of the stories and found that they contributed significantly to raising standards in speaking and listening, and led to noticeable gains in writing skills, improving the structure and imaginative content of children’s own stories. “I can’t think of a better way to get children interacting with stories than these apps. Authentic stories, excitingly told, encourage children to get to grips with telling and writing stories of their own. Flexible and fun, they appeal to all ages and provide models of how stories can be told without laying down rules and formulae. “

Maria Brosnan, managing director at Day Two Productions commented, “Winning this Bett Award is a great acknowledgement of just how essential a product like the ‘Traditional Storyteller’ is in today’s digital environment. Early engagement with literacy is such an important part of a child’s development and therefore the fact the it is used extensively by parents as well as teachers is enormously encouraging.”

The Traditional Storyteller – The Three Little Pigs

Written by Nikki – March 1, 2012

Does your child enjoy story time? Maybe even going to story time at the library and watching someone act out the storyline? The Traditional Storyteller series allows your little one to watch and interact with a storyteller as they act out each part of the story. I really like the look and feel of this app – storytelling is something of a lost art these days – and this app helps to bring it back. There are a whole series of Traditional Storyteller apps – I read The Three Little Pigs.

 

We all know that old story about The Three Little Pigs and how each one built their home – one of straw, one of sticks, and one of bricks. Then, of course, there was the Big Bad Wolf who “huffed and puffed” trying to blow each house down. The Traditional Storyteller app helps bring this story about the Big Bad Wolf and the Little Pigs to life. The storyteller really is great, very animated and interactive – not only does she tell the story, she engages your little one by gestures and facial expressions and incorporates song as well.

Within the app there are a variety of things you can do besides just listening to the story (there is an option where you watch the storyteller, about 10 minutes long). There is a Map Game, in which you are given 8 picture pieces of the story and your little one can listen to each picture piece and then map out the story in sequential order. When you have completed the map correctly, the pictures pop up and the story is read aloud. The Listen & Repeat section allows you to record yourself telling the story with the picture pieces used in the Map Game, and then listen to your recording (it is listen & repeat because you are able to listen to each piece and commit it to memory before recording it yourself). There is also a Tell Your Story part, in which you will be shown the same 8 pictures of the story, but you are able to record your own version and then listen to it. If your little one enjoyed the song from the story, there is a special Play Song feature, which allows you to just listen to the storyteller sing the song.

I really enjoyed The Traditional Storyteller app and the story of The Three Little Pigs. I think that this app really is a rare find and very original. I will definitely be using this app with my son and recommend it to those with little ones who love to read.

Reviewed by Amy Solomon, February 2nd, 2012

The Traditional Storyteller – Anancie and the Drum of Common Sense Review
Our Review

The Traditional Storyteller – Anancie and the Drum of Common Sense is a lovely new universal app – part of a series of apps that brings traditional stories from around the world to life with the aid of wonderful storytellers.

I feel privileged to have been introduced to this series and been given the chance to review this specific app, Anancie and the Drum of Common Sense. This tale of the same name is a classic West African story about Anancie, a half-man, half-spider character who collects common sense from children in the end distributing common sense to all the land in a way most satisfying

The delivery of this story is brilliant in its simplicity. This video recording is of Tuup, a master storyteller, who tells this story looking directly into the camera as he talks. There is no music, sound effects or interactions in this main part of this application, allowing my son to focus on the tale at hand, who was captivated with this man’s wonderful performance.

Storytelling is an art form, and for those gifted in this skill, the delivery can be quite mesmerizing. From the first few words of this story, I don’t think my four year old son, very cranky at the time, took his eyes off my iPhone.

My boy really enjoys the idea of a half-man, half-spider and the imagery of this creature trying to climb a tree – an important detail of this story. As a parent, I really liked the simple lessons taught as Tuup explains the common sense children express as he puts these rules into a drum that he tries to carry up this tree. There is also a moment in this story where Anancie gets frustrated by his own children, not realizing they were trying to help – moments both parents and children alike can relate to.

The length of this story is about 10 minutes, a great length of time for my son to be asked to sit and listen to a story from start to finish, and this expert storyteller does a great job of keeping the energy high throughout this tale.

There are a few other sections of this app with related materials.

Map Game is a very nice section that includes a series of tiles that combine illustrations and audio from moments of this story that need to be re-arranged from start to finish, testing children on the memory, comprehension and understanding of story structure.

Listen and Repeat allows children to listen to moments from this story and repeat what they can remember in their own words as they make their own recording.

Tell Your Story Game lets kids and adults record their own story and email to friends and family.

Bets Bits are short excerpts highlighting favorite moments from this story, a nice section to view when families don’t have 10 minutes for the whole story.

There are so many highly stimulating, interactive applications available that I always find it nice to share wonderful apps that simply contain great stories that kids and their adults can sit back and listen to. Anancie and the Drum of Common Sense, as well as the other apps from this series, would be excellent titles for families who love traditional storytelling.

I also think this app would be great for special needs kids who may need to practice being comfortable around others who make direct eye contact.

This app would also be great in a school setting as it demonstrates not only an excellent delivery of this thoughtful, classic story with important messages, but would make a terrific choice for teaching comprehension and dramatic structure as well as diversity. This traditional West African tale would be a very nice selection for classrooms that may be looking for more multicultural activities.

I have become very excited about this series of apps as I am a fan of traditional storytelling in general, and I love seeing this ancient tradition kept alive with the use of such modern devices.

Traditional Storyteller

Reviewed by Valerie Lauer on Jan 30, 2012

Our Rating: 4.5/5 – Excellent App

Get in touch with what makes storytelling an enduring oral tradition with The Traditional Storyteller – The Giant Turnip. This eBook app is one in a series from Day Two Productions that enlists the help of award winning storytellers to tell classic tales to children the old fashioned way: right from the storyteller’s mouth.

I’ll be honest, I expected a little bit of backlash from the kiddos when I showed them the app. After all, it barely had any pictures, and there were no special interactive illustrations or video animations. But, oh boy, was I worried for nothing. The strangest thing happened when I put on The Giant Turnip story. The kids got very still, and very quiet, and they paid attention. Oh sure, there was the occasional wiggle and, of course, plenty of giggles, but for the most part, they paid rapt attention to Katrice Horsley as she regaled us all with the tale of a farmer and his quest to pull an enormous turnip.

It was an entirely different experience than we normally have with applications. Once the story was done the kids were practically frantic for the extras. Each activity helped drive the story home.

The mapping game went over some of the story highlights and gave the kids fun visuals. The Listen and Repeat game was a little bit advanced for the toddler crowd, but it was still fun to try. The Tell Your Story activity was super fun. Have you ever heard a three year old try to say “higgilty piggilty” in a serious voice? It’s precious, I assure you.

The Traditional Storyteller – The Giant Turnip app costs $4.99 which is a bit higher than other apps. But I really think this app, and others in the series are on to something. We’ll definitely be adding some other titles from The Traditional Storyteller series to our iPad soon.

Bottom line

The Traditional Storyteller – The Giant Turnip is the perfect combination of modern technology and tried-and-true oral tradition. Do not miss this series.

Overall Rating: 5/5        Mom’s Rating: 5/5       Kids Rating: 5/5

Recommended Grades/Ages: Toddlers, Preschool, Kindergarten, Grades 1-3

Skills Developed: Storytelling, Narration, Sequencing, Summarizing, Folktales, Storybook

Available On/PriceUniversal (iPhone/iPod/iPad) – $4.99

Reviewed on: iPad

App Description:

The Traditional Storyteller series of apps uses in-person live recordings of master storytellers sharing their vivid versions of traditional folktales and timeless stories.  In The Traditional Storyteller – The Three Little Pigs, Cat Weatherhill shares her lively retelling of this classic story with vivid facial expressions, gestures, sound effects, and even a catchy song.  Weatherhill is a professional storyteller and published children’s author from the UK and her version of the Three Little Pigs is positive – the pigs survive, the wolf does not (sometimes you just need spoilers, right?)

Along with each ten-minute full-screen story video, three valuable language-arts centered activities are provided.

Map Game provides eight of the stories main plot points, each is given a cartoon-style illustrated image that pops up and plays its section of the story when tapped.  These main plot points are out of place though, and need to be ordered from 1-8 by your child.  When they are all correctly placed (incorrect answers just boing off) the eight main points play the major points of the story in order.

Listen & Repeat includes the same eight major plot points with audio clips shown in order.  Your child can tap each clip to listen to it, then repeat that section of the story as best they can using the recording feature and then have it replayed to listen to.  The original story clip can be listened to again at any point as well as the recording, allowing for multiple attempts and re-recordings.

Tell Your Story provides the same eight major plot points but only as images to encourage recall of the major story points.  Your child can then record their own telling of the story using the images as memory support, and then email the recording of their own story to relatives!

There is also a Play Song option that lets your child listen to Weatherhill singing her cute, repetitive song without having to hunt it down in the video.  In the other apps this section is the Best Bits where a favorite part of the story is played on its own.

A Parents Page includes a section on the importance of storytelling, its educational benefits and the history of the story, as well as providing awesome extension activities.  These can be creative thinking and discussion exercises, simple research topics, and hands-on activities.

What We Liked:

We were sent promo codes for three Traditional Storyteller apps (The Three Little Pigs, The Giant Turnip, and Anancie and the Drum of Common Sense), and we just loved them all.  It was hard to choose just one to focus our review on, each of us had our own favorite.  We spent an entire afternoon sharing these stories with each other – laughing, singing, recording narrations – it was such a fun way to explore the essential language arts skills of listening, retelling, summarizing, sequencing, and so many more.

My 1-year-old repeated sound effects, my 3-year-old repeated phrases, my 5-year-old put the story in order and recorded her own version of the tale, and my 8-year-old sequenced and re-listened to her favorite parts in the re-telling screen.  While watching their daily movie they heard me open the app to write this review and they all ran towards me and were immediately drawn in by the power of story.

I firmly believe that stories are the richest and most basic, natural way that humans learn.  We are built to relate to stories, to tell stories, to share stories, and these apps bring out that joy with spectacular professional storytellers.

The stories alone are wonderful, but the enrichment activities that use the basis of the story to practice key pre/early-writing skills add a lot to the apps, making them easy to use in a series of themed lessons.

Day 1 – listen to the story, day 2 – put the story in order, day 3 – listen to each clip and repeat it as closely as possible, day 3 – record an original telling with the illustrations as guidelines, day 4 – complete an extension activity to draw in life science/geography etc. topics.  ALL of these activities can be completed within the one app, and this sort of repetition is a recognized, valuable approach in early education (and your kids will love it!)

Each storyteller in this series of apps tells a traditional folktale from their region with the UK-based storytellers sharing European stories, and storytellers with African and Indian storytellers telling traditional stories from those countries so this is also a unique way to explore international cultures.  My children are begging me to buy the rest of the series – there are currently five titles available.

What We Didn’t Like:

Nothing.  We are in love.

Overall:

The Traditional Storyteller apps are completely irresistible – engaging, vibrant introductions to classic folk stories that tools that help children practice vital language arts skills.  I simply can’t think of a more enjoyable way to practice sequencing, narration, and summarizing.  Almost better than a live storytelling performance at a library – these can be enjoyed on demand for years to come.

Review: Jan 25, 2012

The Traditional Storyteller Apps, brought to you by DAY TWO PRODUCTIONS, have been developed by the team behind the award-winning ‘The Story Spinner’ and ‘Stories from Around the World’ DVD series, an educational resource based in the UK. These stories are from all over the globe and the performances are top-notch and professional.

What we liked best about this collection was the back to basics, simple and engaging tales told like they’ve been told since time began. Children watch and hear the oral story as it is told through expressive language, fabulous facial expressions, and engaging gestures and then IMAGINE the scenes for themselves. What a novel concept! Children can even record and email their own version of each story – making these the perfect apps for sharing with family and friends.

Kids today need down time and a break from all the bells and whistles, and of course – more time to use their imaginations. This is the perfect way to unwind and have brilliant story tellers educate your children with these all time classics.

Each story is accompanied by a sequencing illustrations game, a listen and repeat  parts of the story activity, and the option of retelling the story with your own words. Children can record themselves and play it back, over and over again. They also include “best bits” amusing video clips from the story.

Imagine your child enchanted by the best storytellers from around the world, whenever & wherever you want. Now you can because there are apps for that!