Update July 2014: This app is currently more than 50% off at only $2.99! Get it before the sale ends!
Write to Read ($6.99 for iPad, iTunes link) is a new iPad app which teaches children to use their imagination and create unique and personal books. In the process of writing, they will increase their reading skills as well.
The Write to Read method is based on learning to read through writing. Children will create meaningful stories using their current speaking abilities. Each page will be accompanied by a photo, which in itself can have speech and thought bubbles.
I was able to test out the app and found it intuitive and easy to use. Within minutes, I was able to figure out all the functions incorporated into the app. I immediately saw the potential of both fun and learning with this app.
From the developers:
Write to Read is an impressive book creator app in which children from the age of three can use their imagination to create their own books on iPads including both text and photos. The app provides parents and children with the opportunity to interact with one another, where the child is encouraged to use his creativity and craft a DIGITAL BOOK which can proudly be shared with family and friends. The app is developed by Danish primary school teacher Janus Madsen who has more than 15 years of experience in teaching young children to read and write.
Write to Read was developed in Denmark by Janus Madsen, a primary school teacher with over 15 years of experience of teaching students to read and write. Write to Read has revolutionized the way kids are learning, and is one of the top Educational iPad apps in Denmark.
Please check out the official intro video for Write to Read:
A Teacher’s dilemma
A dilemma I have as a teacher when I get students to write is exactly how much proofreading I should do. Some teachers I know are completely against teacher proofreading. Therefore, their students’ work contains many errors. Then other teachers are the opposite and correct every single mistake before a good copy is due. The final copies are flawless. But were they really the work of the student? I think there needs to be a fine line. As an educator, a proofreading template that contains hints for students as opposed to giving them the correct language is a much better solution. High school students need to learn a system for making edits on their work. For younger kids, however, the dual text boxes on each page are an excellent way to see and eventually fix mistakes.
With Write to Read, parents and teachers can make all proper corrections in the bottom box, and children can then see their mistakes in direct comparison with the corrected version.
A distinct advantage this app has for your children is that they LOVE the iPad. Parents will not have a problem getting their kids to pick one up and use it. At first, they will think its a game, and not actually something entirely meant for academic learning.
For the toddlers who are not capable of writing and recognizing letters, there is a neat “Record” function which uses the iPad’s microphone. Have them verbally tell their story, and input the words for them. They will begin to see how words are formed. For those who are already capable of recognizing letter sounds, they can practice reading their books at their own pace.
Having the two text boxes (One above for the child, one below for the adult) is brilliant. Not only can children see a comparison of their perceived spelling of their words and the correct spelling, they can also learn from their mistakes. These mistakes will therefore be greatly reduced the more practice they have with the app.
Adding photos could not be any easier. You have full access to not only your Camera Roll (Photos taken on the iPad), but also your Photo Stream and any other shared photo albums you may be a part of. This way, photos taken from all your devices can easily be attached to any page on your books.
On a trip, children can choose vacation photos and quickly and easily do a journal/diary of their adventures. I can already see my three year old daughter being very excited to share her photos on a recent Hawaii trip, and do a quick description of what is happening in each one.
Since Camera Roll uploads are possible, one could upload images that were created on other apps. For example, if your kids enjoy doodling/drawing, use an app such as Kids Doodle (free) or Drawing Pad ($1.99USD) to first draw a page for their book, then bring it into the Write to Read app. The possibilities are endless for those with big imaginations.
The keyboard on Write to Read is concise.
Notice the different colours distinguished between vowels and consonants:
Great feature coming
An upcoming feature, coming in the next few months, is the addition of an online publishing platform. it will be great to have users be able to publicly share their books if they want to. There will be a “library” where kids can choose to upload their creations. These examples will be available for download for others to view. These books will inspire kids to write even more.
A potential feature I would like to see in future updates is the ability to include the audio recordings somehow in the sharing. Wouldn’t it be great to have grandparents be able to hear their grandchildren reciting the stories for them? Perhaps bundling this with an app like Explain Everything could solve this for the moment. You could take screenshots of all the pages, and import them into Explain Everything and narrate there.
Check out is how-to video:
Write to Read is a solid app worth the price. Both kids and adults will enjoy the process of creating something entirely from scratch. They will definitely feel a sense of accomplishment when the books are completed. Books can be converted directly from the iPad to PDF files, and emailed to family and friends immediately. When exporting, you have the option to use either the child or adult writing, or even include both. Printing is also easy: If you have wireless printing available on your device, you can print directly from the app. If not, send a PDF copy over to your computer and print it from there. For something that is as innovative as this, I recommend this app for all parents and teachers wishing to have a head start in teaching both reading and writing.