Write to Read is a rather unique outlet for your child to use their imagination and create their very own books, complete with photos, text and narration.
Unlike similar apps, book pages are laid out with a photo followed by two different text areas, one for the child (the little owl) and one for the parent (the big owl). The idea is that the child creates their book, writing the text in their designated text area using their phonetic style of spelling. Then the parent can enter the correct spelling of that same text in a separate space below it. This way instead of just correcting/overwriting your child’s spelling, he or she has a means of side by side comparison, allowing for increased recognition and learning.
This strong collaboration component between parent and child not only gives Write to Read a huge amount of learning potential, it also creates a fun and constructive bonding experience for the parent and child.
My daughter Emily (age six) loves to make up her own stories and Write to Read has proven to be a perfect outlet to showcase her creativity. She sees it as more of a game than a learning activity, eagerly handing the iPad back to me after she’s crafted a page with a huge grin and a “Daddy, it’s your turn”. I can see her little mind turning, her eyes never leaving the screen as I type in the correct spelling of her carefully crafted sentences. This is usually met with an “oooh” or a “so that’s how you spell that”. I can see the results immediately and it’s fun for me to see her learning.
Instead of having her create an entire book and then going back and correct it at the end, we go page by page together. She writes her text and then I write mine. That way she is learning the correct spellings of words as we go, and she can apply this knowledge on subsequent pages. This in and of itself has become a huge sense of pride for her and her face is absolutely beaming when she presents her new page to me with a previously misspelled word, now spelled correctly.
All of my iPhone’s photos are in a shared stream accessible from the family iPad on which we have Write to Read installed, so Emily has crafted books about our vacations, books about our family and even books about just random screenshots I’ve taken for other reviews or characters she’s created in other apps.
She loves Write to Read‘s word balloon and narration features and even inanimate objects will sometimes have thought balloons. After writing a book, she relishes in the fact that she can record a page by page narration, reading her brilliant tome aloud. Once her latest masterpiece is done, Em immediate wants to show it to her mom and little sister as well.
As a fun project, we’ve even taken a physical book that she created in Kindergarten and converted it into a book within Write to Read so that I could help correct her spelling. Emily thought it was really neat to see her school project in digital form. Aside from reading the books through the app, you also have the option to print, email (as a PDF) or share your books via Facebook. When sharing you can choose which set of text to include, parent, child or both, the only thing missing here is a way include the narration portion as well.
This well-crafted app was developed by a Danish primary school teacher. Thanks to Madsen’s 15 years of experience teaching children to read and write, there are a number of nice little touches and details which help facilitate learning. For instance, on the custom keyboard, the vowels and consonants are marked in separate colors to help distinguish them and (unlike Apple’s native keyboard) both upper and lowercase letters are displayed on the keys when appropriate.
Some of the best apps for children are those in which they are having so much fun that they don’t even realize that they are learning, but if they do, it fills them with a sense of pride and accomplishment. Write to Read falls squarely into this category, providing children with a simple set of tools with which to explore their imagination and creativity, while fostering a fun bonding and educational environment for both parent and child alike. My daughter is excited about writing and reading and actively seeks out time for us to play with Write to Read together and I’ve definitely seen some improvement in her spelling thanks in part to Write to Read.