Apps to inspire group storytelling activities in the classroom


I’ve written blogs in the past focussing on different storytelling apps which allow you to create a story from scratch using your own pictures and words. But how about when children have difficulty coming up with ideas themselves or have difficulty retrieving the right words to use?

There are many apps that can be used to motivate children with their narrative skills through characters, pictures or sounds. When stories are developed in groups, children can motivate each other and focus on listening as well as expressive skills.


All the apps below are free unless otherwise stated. If using as a whole class activity, don’t forget to use a programme such as AirServer (see previous blog) so that the whole class can see the screen.


Story sound effects

storytimesoundsThere are lots of ways of using sound effects to inspire group narratives:

  • Start the story by agreeing on some characters and a scene (draw these out if possible!) Then play sounds one at a time and ask children to name them and volunteer ideas about what is happening in the story.
  • Take turns to say a sentence about the story based on the sound you have just heard and then choose a sound for the next person to describe.

Story time sounds is a great app with clear categories e.g. pirates or monsters, each with colourful pictures to choose from.
Movie Sound Effects has words instead of pictures and contain many sound effects in SciFi/Action/Comedy/Cartoon categories.

See previous blog for ideas of random sound effects to incorporate into stories.

Setting the scene

Some apps let you choose the scene and characters and allow you to move them around to create mini movies. The three shown below also have inbuilt recording facilities.

Puppet Pals (free lite version or £3.99 Directors Pass allowing you to add your own photos). I’ve done a previous blog on using this in class group activities so won’t add more here except to say it’s one of my favourite apps for stimulating expressive language and the combination of photos and fantasy characters can be a great source of inspiration for a wide range of ages!

Superhero HD Comic Book Maker and Princess Fairy Tale Maker by Duck Duck Moose have a large range of backdrops and characters to include in stories. Pick your scene, choose your characters and record the story as you move them around.


Using story frameworks

Some apps are set up precisely for the purpose of group story telling. Easy to adapt for a classroom activity.

Story Wheel Lite has different themes e.g. Knights and Princesses/Space etc. It is set up for more than one player – each takes turns to spin the wheel and record a few words or phrases about the picture they are allocated. At the end all scenes can be merged.

Story Dice (£1.99) allows you to roll as many dice as you choose, each with drawings on from which you can obtain prompts to include in a story. More abstract pictures, might work well for older children.

img_1248Tell a tale provides the first line of the story, three random pictures and then the final line. Definitely one for older/secondary children.


Free apps for working with children who have speech difficulties and dysarthria


I’ve recently been experimenting with some new apps in Speech and Language Therapy sessions for both primary and secondary aged children who have either speech difficulties or dysarthria. I found the following (and all free!) apps to be helpful in my therapy sessions:

Singing Fingers HDThis app allows you to draw a squiggle, line or picture while recording your voice at the same time. You can then run your finger along the line to play back the recording. This app proved useful in assessment as a motivating way of asking a student to demonstrate pitch glides.










Voice Changer Lite. This app was useful for eliciting short sample phrases from students – you can record a short phrase and then play them back in different modes e.g. “helium” or “alien”.

voice changer









Bla Bla Bla and Sensory Speak Up. Great apps for encouraging voice exercises. Bla Bla Bla has a choice of faces, which change according to the volume of the speaker. I also used it as a tool during oro-motor assessments with younger children.


A quiet voice

photo 1

A very loud voice






The Sensory Speak Up app gives visual feedback when trying to sustaining a long vowel sound.  This made it possible to set visual targets for students e.g. sustaining a note for half the screen.


The bars appear evenly with a good sustained sound


A non sustained note with breaks in breathing






Ocarina. I used this app to support therapy for breath control. The difference between a long sustained note and a quick breath creates a difference in the music created so provides a relatively motivating target.