Spending time with read aloud books is often very special for parents and children—I know I love reading aloud to my boys. I did it often when my now-teens were small, and I do it now with my younger sons (ages 8, 5, and 2). There’s something magical that happens when everyone is immersed in a book together.
But what happens when something comes up, and you just can’t read out loud? Maybe you have to work with an older child on a particularly difficult math lesson. Or perhaps you’re sick, and you want to rest your voice. Whatever the reason, One More Story read aloud books is here to help!
One More Story is a website and iOS app with a large variety of children’s picture books, and they are fully immersive. It’s like an audiobook, but with the images (book illustrations) to go with it. The site has dozens of books, some of which are well known and loved (The Snowy Day and Stellaluna, for example), while others are less familiar – though no less quality. Many of them are Caldecott medal winners!
The website is easy to navigate, and the app for iPhones and iPads is extremely self-explanatory too. In fact, after a quick lesson on how to find the read-aloud book they’re interested in, children can often run the entire program on their own (especially if you’re working with the app and don’t need to navigate to the web page and log in each time).
Each of the 87 books currently offered includes an original song composed by Robby Merkin, who used to work for Sesame Street as their music director. There are two options for reading: Read Along Mode offers a real read-aloud book experience for your child, while I Can Read It Mode allows older children to read the book themselves.
In Read Along Mode, there are over 30 voice actors who do the narration for One More Story, so it’s unlikely your child will notice repeats. Between the different narrators and fresh, original music, it’s a far cry from “every story sounds the same!” The different narrator options also have a benefit for students learning English. By hearing the stories in a variety of voices, students are exposed to the different accents and intonations native American speakers have. When children listen to a story in Read Along Mode, each word is highlighted as it’s read. This allows even the youngest child to begin to learn that the letters and words at the bottom of the page actually mean something, which is a vital step in early literacy.
In I Can Read It Mode, all music and narration are disabled. This allows children to focus on the words on the page (or screen, in this case) without distraction. If the child comes across a word he or she doesn’t know, they just need to tap or click on it, and the program will read the word aloud for them. This gives children a stress-free place to practice reading. A computer program will never judge them the way a parent or teacher (no matter how well-intentioned) sometimes does.
In addition to the stories themselves, One More Story has a My Word List section. This is a sort of vocabulary list compilation. When a child working in I Can Read It Mode and they click a word for help, that word is automatically added to their Word List. It’s easy for children to go into their Word List at any time and practice those words they previously struggled with. When they’ve mastered a word, they can move it to their Learned Words List, and that’s a real moment of pride for children!
If you are a schoolteacher reading this (as opposed to a homeschool parent), One More Story has you covered too! They offer a home subscription, which I’ve already gone over, and a school subscription, which is priced per student (contact them for pricing). The school subscription has all the features already discussed, plus a Teacher’s Corner, where the teacher can monitor the students’ progress in order to prepare targeted lessons for each student.
If you love early childhood literature and read aloud books, then One More Story just might be right for you (and your students)!
Special thanks to Wendy of Ladybug Daydreams
for writing this introductory article.
Click below to read all the reviews about One More Story from the members of the Homeschool Review Crew that had the opportunity to use it in their homes over the past few weeks.