Top Tips : Apps to inspire creativity and reading

7 October 2020

We’re always looking for exciting new ways to support creativity in the classroom and at home.

DID YOU KNOW..? Apps can be a brilliant way to support children’s literacy and reader development.

In particular, apps that focus on reading can bring stories to life in new ways for children (and grown-ups) and create a dynamic reading experience. This is especially useful for very young children, children who struggle to access the written word or for those who are non-native English speakers or for grown-ups who have low literacy skills – apps can help develop language and communication skills. And some apps can introduce you to new books and authors. The most successful apps are those that suits a child’s age and interests and enable them to enjoy reading both on and off line, with interaction and creativity providing an opportunity to engage with reading in a whole new way. Here are some brilliant free apps that will work wonders and inspire children’s creativity at home or in school.

Dan Brown's Wild Symphony

First up is the amazing new app released alongside author Dan Brown’s fantastic new book picture book Wild Symphony. This delightful book celebrates the wonder of art, music and story through the eyes of a menagerie of animals and whilst it can be read as a traditional picture-book, it has been created as an immersive storytelling experience.  Amazingly, for each of the animals in the story, author Dan Brown has composed a unique piece of modern classical music to reflect their personality. Even more amazing through the power of augmented reality, as you read you can use the free app to instantly play the appropriate music for each page, when the camera of a mobile device is held over it. Children can literally ‘hear’ the characters come to life in the form of music as the narrative progresses. From upbeat and fun Bouncing Kangaroos to reflective and calm like the Wondrous Whale, the Wild Symphony book and app will transform the story experience. Watch a video featuring Dan Brown talking about his new book and the app.

CBeebies Storytime

The CBeebies Storytime app features bedtime stories for kids with fairy tales, nursery rhymes and favourites such as Peter Rabbit. Stories are brought to life with magical features and there are questions to help develop comprehension skills. There are ‘Read to Me’ and ‘Read by Myself’ options to accommodate different reading abilities and a dedicated grown-ups section which has handy tips to support children’s reading development. Books are free to download and you won’t be bothered by ads or in-app purchases. Find out more here

Just Imagine's Reading Journey

Just Imagine’s Reading Journey is a free app for schools and a focussed approach to developing reading for pleasure, designed to be used alongside their curated book collections. Through the app, children can discover exciting new books and keep a reading journal as they journey through the ‘Pagoda of Peril’, the ‘Curiosity Caves’ and the ‘Volcano of Verses’, each with its own genre of books to choose from. There are activities to support reader development, the option of creating your own personal bookshelf and features like Author of the Month to generate interest in new books.  There are great tools for teachers too, with the ability to have an overview of children’s reading choices and encourage their reading habits. Find out more here

Roald Dahl Audiobooks App

For wonder and imagination look no further than the Roald Dahl Audiobooks phizz-whizzing App! Listen to free sample chapters from 19 of his best loved stories then download the complete audiobook. A great way to introduce children to the world of  Roald Dahl with classics like The BFG, The Twits and The Witches, you’ll have their ears swivelling in no time. And with celebrity readers like Kate Winslet, Stephen Fry and Chris O'Dowd plus sound effects from Pinewood Studios, children will be swept away by their imaginations.  Find out more and watch a film showing exactly how those sound effects are made here


If you have used a brilliant app to support reading we’d love to hear about it! Please contact PuffinSchools@penguinrandomhouse.co.uk with 'Inspiring Ideas' in the subject line.

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