App review by Amanda Bindel, Common Sense Education | Updated November 2014
Tell About This
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Tell About This

Photo and word prompts inspire storytelling; app records the results

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Subjects & Skills
English Language Arts, Communication & Collaboration, Creativity

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Pros: Easy-to-use tool for kids that's also easy for teachers to customize.

Cons: Recording oral storytelling doesn't allow revising or editing.

Bottom Line: Versatile tool can be used as a pre-writing or publishing activity.

Tell About This is a truly versatile tool. In a kindergarten or primary classroom, where kids' ideas are bigger than their writing ability, teachers could let them express their ideas orally and record them. They could also record kids as they retell stories, developing reading comprehension, or take a picture of kids' artwork and record stories about them. Older students could use Tell About This as a publishing tool -- reading aloud a piece of writing, adding a photo, and sharing it with others. The developer's website also has a helpful list of ways teachers can use the app.

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Dozens of photos, sorted into such categories as culture, people, family, and fun, serve as inspiration for prompts kids can tell stories about. After choosing a category, they select a photo, see and hear the prompt, and tap the microphone button to record their "tell-about." They can pause during recording, and save or play back the recording when finished. Recordings can be saved in-app or to the device's camera roll, and emailed as a .mov file. Teachers can create custom prompts using their own images, prompts, and voice.

This versatile pre-writing or publishing tool, with clear icons for recording, pausing, and playing, is easy for young storytellers to use. Prompts are read aloud and can be repeated. Resources -- from the interesting photos to the thoughtful prompts-- are inspiring. Teachers can create unlimited profiles, so every student can save work to an individual profile and easily find it again. Profiles can even include images to make it easier for pre-readers to use.

Overall Rating


Photo prompts -- from a cat in a toilet bowl to laser light displays -- draw kids in, and open-ended prompts spark creativity. The highlight for kids, though, is hearing their own voices played back.


Prompts and photos serve as great pre-writing activities to inspire ideas. Emerging writers are empowered to tell their stories verbally, building expressive language and writing skills.


Kids' work is saved in-app and can be shared by email as a .mov file. Teachers or kids can customize prompts, adding their own images and/or word prompts.

Common Sense reviewer
Amanda Bindel Classroom teacher

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Featured review by
Lisa S. , Other
Interesting Visual Prompts Encourage Oral Language Development
There are now other tools (like Seesaw) that allow students to record over their own images in an easier way than this app, so I would only suggest this app if the visual prompts are what you value from it. The images included ARE highly engaging and could encourage oral language development and practice using oral language. A speech and language specialist might find value in purchasing the paid version to have access to all the images which are around 14-15 per topic. (Topics include: Culture, L ...
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