Apps to support storytelling for pupils with additional support needs

Shirley Lawson, Development Officer at CALL Scotland specialising in Assistive Technology, explores the different apps available to assist story creation for pupils with additional support needs.

At CALL Scotland, we advocate the use of apps to support pupil creativity. Appropriate apps on an iPad, or Android tablet are ideal for supporting creative thinking, collaboration and learning. Although this article will focus on apps available for an iPad device, many of these apps are also available for Android tablets.


Book Creator

The Book Creator is an easy-to-learn app that lets users create their own eBooks. It can be used to aid story creation in any area of the curriculum.

The app provides multi-media opportunities to meet the needs of all learners. Users can add in photos, video, text, handwriting (with either your finger or a stylus), and comic book features. Picture prompts are a great way to encourage pupils to tell their own story. 

The app also has a voice record button, which allows users to record comments directly over an image or page, taking away the need to type. Learners who face barriers when asked to write down their thoughts can often happily engage with a creative activity where they use their own voice.

The app uses the international ePub standard, so stories can be published as professional looking eBooks - great motivation for budding writers! 


Tell About This

The Tell About This app can be used to help children share their thoughts and stories. It encourages the development of story retelling skills and the use of complete sentences. This app is very easy to use and would be ideal for those not quite at the writing stage, but who have stories they want to share.


Write About This

Pupils can progress from the Tell About This app to the Write About This app, which provides writing prompts to get children thinking critically and creatively. This app embodies Universal Design for Learning principles of accommodating individual learning differences, and offers a range of tools to support writing. Users can also customise story prompts and story categories by adding their own photos.

For pupils that are keen to get going and start writing, the app has a Quick Write section where users can add text, photos and audio directly into their story. Like the Book Creator app, for those pupils for whom it is easier to speak than type, there is a microphone option. This speech recognition function uses Siri- which is inbuilt into the iPad- and will require an internet connection to work.

We look forward to reading the stories your pupils create published on iBooks!

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Shirley Lawson

Shirley Lawson is Assistive Technology and ASN Officer at CALL Scotland. CALL Scotland help children and young people across Scotland to overcome disability and barriers to learning created by their environment, and to fulfil their potential.