Storybook Reading uses your iPhone or iPad's camera to digitally copy a book and add your own personal narration so your children can listen to you read even when you are not around. It's an easy way to take a moment of reading and preserve it for future use.
The app allows a parent to photograph a page of their child's favorite book and record a video of themselves reading the text on the page. The recording feature is on the parent side of the app and is accessible using a PIN code provided by the app. The app walks you through the process, which is easy once you get the hang of it.
Parents must capture each page and add a narration one page at a time which can be time-consuming depending on the length of the book. When the recording on a page is complete, parents can add music to the background as well as adjust where the narration video appears on the screen. Once the entire book has been digitized, parents save the work for their child to read at his or her convenience.
On the child's side of the app, kids can select a book from the bookshelf to begin reading. Controls are easy to use, allowing a child to swipe between pages or jump immediately to a selected page. As they read each page, the video narration automatically appears without any intervention, which is useful for younger readers who may be confused by the complexity of playback controls.
Performance of the app was occasionally glitchy with the video and music sometimes locking up the app. My children also had a hard time swiping from page to page quickly as they had to wait for the video to play before moving to the next page. Despite these occasional frustrations, my little ones enjoyed seeing my face and hearing my voice while reading on the iPad.
Storybook Reading is available for free and includes the ability to record two books for free. Unlimited books are available via an in-app purchase of $2.99. Books can be created and stored locally or shared, the latter of which is a useful feature that allows grandparents or other distant relatives to interact with the younger members of your family.