It was January 2006 and my eldest child was just about to start kindergarten. “Tell me a story J-girl”, I said one night at the dinner table
She looked at me, squinted her eyes, deep in thought and started with “Once upon a time…..there was a dog….looking for a bone”.
And, me being her mother, thought this was the best story in the whole wide world. So we recorded it. And then the idea came to animate it so my daughter could have her very own short film.
Children tell the best stories, don’t you think? They don’t limit themselves by pesky things like plausibility or logic. They just let their imaginations run free.
And that’s pretty much the inspiration behind Junior Storytellers. Let the children tell their stories. As parents, we are constantly told and shown that reading to our children is the best strategy to foster, harness, improve literacy levels.
J-girl’s story ‘About A Dog’ is actually about perseverance. At the age of 4 I don’t think she was aware of that but we had read enough books, with a moral to the story, it had clearly sunk in. And there she was creating this fictional world where dogs can talk have human-like traits; a want, an obstacle, a resolution.
So I thought, what a great little tv show this would make. And that’s where Media Farm (producers of Cooking with Luis, Gardening with Madi, All For Kids) came into it. Being far more resourceful but equally as passionate about it, they took it on board to develop. And then the iPad happened. Well didn’t that just open up a whole new world. Why not make it an app? Indeed, why not?
For the last few years, Media Farm along with The Project Factory has been putting together what you all see today, Junior Storytellers; a storytelling app for kids 4-9.
So much research went into trying to make this app great. I spoke to a great number of teachers about how narrative is taught in schools because we wanted to get the building blocks right.
There are 5 challenge levels; each one introducing a new element of storytelling and building on the previous level; presented in a fun way that kids will enjoy choosing their backgrounds and their characters.
You can keep your stories so your children….and you….can listen to them over and over again. Because I tell you this now; J-girl is 13 so that cutesy way of seeing the world has passed but I get the greatest joy out of listening to her story ‘About A Dog’.
Junior Storytellers a free app available from the Apple Store, for ipads only. Iphones and ipods won’t be able to download the app.
I would love to hear either in the comments below or you can rate the app in the Apple Store.
Honestly, this was a passion project to develop something that could be fun but help kids become better storytellers. I hope you all get some joy out of it.
For some other reviews on Junior Storytellers please read
Denyse Whelan – former Primary School Principal and current Tutor at UWS
Martine Oglethorpe – The Modern Parent – Family Counsellor
Grace Titioka (With Some Grace) – Blogger and mum of twin boys