Reading and child development: The Our Story app: Introduction

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How has research into children's literacy shaped the iPad and iPhone Our Story application?

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A team of us at The Open University have been interested in applying research based knowledge to develop an app which is designed to be fun, but will also help children develop abilities they will need when they start to read. In the following section we describe the way research ideas have been translated into an application.

As you will see we are concerned not only with the cognitive aspects of learning to read such as linking sounds to letters, but also the way learning becomes motivated and enjoyable when occurring in a familiar social context.

But first, here's a brief description of what the app is and does - and why.

We're sorry, but for the moment this app is only available for Apple devices.

Our Story is an app designed so that you and your child can have fun and at the same time can build up skills which will provide a foundation for starting to read.

The special feature of Our Story is that it is personalised, you can make your own stories and icards (like flash cards). These, we believe, are a very important way to support children’s reading development.

You can put your own pictures, drawings, noises, speech and text on ‘icards’ and use these to play games that will help with learning new words, sounds and letters. You can also use these icards to build up a personal story which you can share together with your child.

The app has been designed to give you lots of different possibilities to suit you and your child – and we have several suggestions about ways to use the app which will support vocabulary and pre-reading skills.

If you are interested in using the app then go to the App Store and search for Our Story.

Next: Why can Our Story provide the first steps towards reading?

Using the Our Story app