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iPad Sharing #3 Apps To Support Literacy

This is a direct copy/paste from my Edublog. It'll be interesting to see how it turns out on the VLN and whether the videos play!


This week I was asked to give a presentation to the Nelson Library Network Meeting focussing on iPad Apps to Support Literacy so we combined our usual after school Thursday workshop with the Library meeting.

I managed to borrow/commandeer an iPad 2 because I wanted to display the iPad screen onto the data projector big screen as we were expecting quite a big turnout. I had to wipe the iPad’s apps that were already there to over-write it with my own own apps. This went very smoothly as when I went to synch the iPad it led me to the option to RESTORE TO ORIGINAL SETTINGS on the opening screen. Once I had done that I re-synched it and everything, plus Facetime and Photobooth, were there where they should be.

I divided the presentation into two parts - Consumption- looking at Literacy Apps that someone else has made and Creativity- looking at ways to create your own content on the iPad.

Here are my hyperlinked notes of my apps that I shared. All prices are in Kiwi dollars…..


  •  Next on the list was iBooks. We had quick skim through with what you can do with a couple of free books like Winnie the Pooh that you get through the iBook store. To get to the iBooks Store you open the app and click on STORE. From there you may like to look for FEATURED and get some free books. I have bought ‘Are You My Mother’ by PD Eastman, one of my favourites from when I first started teaching that I can’t find in paper version any more. A nice find!
  • While we were in iBooks we looked at how we might add our own pdfs to the resource. To do that open iTunes. Go FILE- ADD TO LIBRARY in iTUNES- navigate to the file and voila! The next time you synch the iPad your pdf will be waiting for you.
  • To navigate between the pdfs and books click on the word COLLECTIONS (BOOKS on the iPod Touch version) and you will see the options.
  • As an example of an eBook you can buy through iTunes Our Choice ($6.49) by Al Gore is pretty impressive too.

Some of my favourite eBooks for young children are:

  • The Kindle App- (Free) The Kindle App lets you read ebooks that you buy cheap from Amazon on your iPad as though you were reading them on you Kindle. Not sure what to buy I asked Kerre Woodham and her Paper Plus Book Choices. A book that I might have bought in hard copy for $40 cost me $13 on the Kindle.

  • In a teachery sort of way I like Running Recs ($2:59) by our very own Matt Thomas from Tauranga for doing away with the need to grab a calculator to work out whether a running record is easy, instructional or hard.

  • And lastly as an RSS reader I like the look of Flipboard (free) for browsing through photos, news and blogs that I like to peruse.

Creativity looking at ways to create your own content on the iPad.

  • Here we went back to iBooks how I made our own class eBook. To do that I made a document with the children’s text and drawings with Pages then went FILE – EXPORT and exported it as an ePub. To create and import your own ePub you can download a tutorial pdf here.
  • Next we looked at Handwriting with I Can Write ($1.29) being my favourite because it shows you where to start and how to write. When you are finished a set of letters it gives you a screen of how you wrote all of the letters in the set. You could then take a screen grab of those and track your improvements and progress.
  • My favourite Spelling app at the moment is Cimo Spelling. I like it because you learn to spell real words that actually exist. I have gone off a lot of other spelling apps that accept words that no one has ever heard of.
  • Of course we can’t go past Pages ($13.99) and Keynote ($13.99) for creating working documents on the iPad. Children are already familiar with them and know what to expect.

  • I also recently bought Comic Life ($10.99) which can be used in all sorts of engaging ways across the curriculum.

  • For editing photos my go to app is Photogene (4:19). It is simple, easy to use and has lots of features that I often use.

  • For mind mapping I really like how easy to use Popplet ($6.49) is. I have blogged earlier this yearabout the web application but it is even easier on an iPad. There is a lite free version as well if you would like to try it out.

  • For recording audio I think people often forget the iPod feature of having an iPad. Schools could load the music from CDs and use the iPad for archiving things like Learning Media CDs, Jump Jam, Assembly music, dance, etc. You could then use the iPad as a listening post or plug it into a sound system and always know where you audio is located.
  • I have recently bought myself an iRig microphone which is a uni-directional microphone designed specifically for using with iOS devices. It provides quality recording and cuts out the background chatter in the classroom or social setting.
  • My favourite digital storytelling app is Sonic Pics. ($4.19) It is so easy to use and share. Here Wes Fryer shares a how to of digital storytelling apps.

  • You can’t go past the basic Talking Tom (free) for fun audio recording and sharing.
  • I am quite fond of Show Me (free) for making screen and audio recordings. It doesn’t export as a movie but they Show Me team assure me it will come through further updates.
  • Puppet Pals (free) is a fabulous storytelling app. You can purchase more characters from within the app or add your own characters and backgrounds from your iPad photo album. This Matariki production was made by children at Waihi East Primary School using Puppet Pals.

  • The last of the audio apps would be Sock Puppets (free) which lip synchs when you speak. Fun!

And last of all we had fun with some QR codes in the Waimea Intermediate School Library. Phew!


  • fiona hawes

    thanks Allanah, as we start out on the ipad investigation - it's pleasing to see that many of your recommendations  we like too.  thanks for sharing

  • Jo Howard

    Thanks Allanah, it's great to see some practical applications for some of the apps that we have been looking at.

  • Angela Lee

    Thanks Allanh we really enjoy using puppet pals to retell stories as part of reading rotations for year 2/3 students.  We haven't used sock puppets before, I think this will also be a hit with the children though... will test it out on Monday Smile

  • Suzie Vesper

    Hmmm...I am feeling more and more pressure to buy an iPad after reading reviews of apps like this. Thanks Allanh!

  • Janette Hoggard

    Nice round up for those of us starting out, thanks. I got Puppet Pals but haven't check it out yet, good to know you can use own pics.

    I bought Strip Designer for $4.19 instead of Comic Life just because it was half the price - very similar and has same features.

    A great art app is Drawing Pad full of features for $2.59!!Laughing