Review by Dana Villamagna, Common Sense Education | Updated July 2012
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This Is My Story (And I'm Sticking To It)

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Colorful, fun story creator teaches beginner grammar and spelling

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Grades
Pre-K-K This grade range is a recommendation by Common Sense Education and not the developer/publisher.
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Pros: Teaches beginner grammar and spelling in a fun, colorful way.

Cons: Templates all use the same structure. No skills added as kids progress.

Bottom Line: An engaging app to introduce early readers and writers to story creation.

You may want to present this app to the entire class with a teacher-guided story creation experience, so kids can see this fill-in-the-blank idea at work before they try it on their own. Encourage kids to keep the story going as they think beyond the scripted options to consider why their characters chose to do what they do and what happens next, even after the app's story is complete. For more ideas, This Is My Story (And I'm Sticking To It)'s website has supplemental materials, a teacher chat area, and an email link to provide requests in an area on the site called the Teacher's Lounge.

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This Is My Story (And I'm Sticking To It) is a storytelling app for preschoolers that starts kids on the road to understanding simple sentence structure and recognizing some themed sight words. Kids pick a story template from seven colorful, kid-friendly story themes, then tap and drag labeled sticker-like images into the blanks of each page to create an original story. A young voice prompts kids to fill in the blanks for the story. A sentence like, "The (blank) played with the (blank)" becomes "The elf played with the snowman." Finished stories can be saved and will be read aloud by the app, with added sound effects such as laughing on a page with characters who are playing, or slurping on a page where characters are drinking cocoa. Kids can save their original stories to read, listen to, and share with others later. Additional features include a just-for-fun sticker page and a matching activity.

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Kids can learn thematic sight words and early storytelling skills using This Is My Story (And I'm Sticking To It). As kids choose colorful and fun sticker-like images to build the themed stories, they see and hear common sight words like truck and cat. As the stories develop page-by-page, kids practice in simple sentence structure such as "The (blank) said hello to the (blank)." Each of the seven templates has a different theme -- such as holidays, seasons, and school -- with a fun background and related vocabulary. On the downside, they all use the same structure with no additional target skills as kids progress, and more story options would give the app a boost. Still, This Is My Story (And I'm Sticking To It) is an engaging app to introduce early readers and writers to story creation. Throughout the entire exercise, those young kids are picking up subtle grammar and spelling lessons. 

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Overall Rating
3

Engagement Is the product stimulating, entertaining, and engrossing? Will kids want to return?
4

This is an engaging app for introducing early readers and writers to story creation. The seven templates include holidays, seasons, school, and other themed settings with which most kids will easily connect.

Pedagogy Is learning content seamlessly baked-in, and do kids build conceptual understanding? Is the product adaptable and empowering? Will skills transfer?
3

Kids see and hear common sight words and simple sentences such as "The cat said hello to the ghost." As kids hear their stories re-told with added sound effects, they learn basic storytelling skills and build vocabulary.

Support Does the product take into account learners of varying abilities, skill levels, and learning styles? Does it address both struggling and advanced students?
2

Verbal and visual cues (such as shaded boxes where kids place the characters and arrows to move to the next page) make story creation accessible. The teacher support area on the developer's website could use some improvement.


Common Sense Reviewer
Dana Villamagna Classroom teacher

Teacher Reviews

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Featured review by
Stephanie V. , Classroom teacher
Classroom teacher
University Of Central Arkansas
Conway, AR
2
Superficial word/shape recognition activities.

This is just a reinforcing side activity. It's not anything I think would be particularly useful for teaching. Kids put stickers in their corresponding shapes and hear the words repeated via audio, which is good reinforcement. But they aren't really creating anything, just putting words into sentences whose sense is debatable.

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