The Free Storytime App and Reading to Kids

story_timeThere’s a lot of information available about how important reading aloud to young children is for not only encouraging children’s literacy but cognitive development in general. It’s also just plain fun for parents and kids.

Storytime for Kids began as an initiative from Denny & Lies Velthuizen, two parents in the Netherlands who wanted to encourage parents to read more to their kids. They created an app for smart phones (Android and iOS) that would make it possible for parents to always have a story at hand to read to their children. The Dutch version was a rousing success, and inspired the Velthuizens to create and English version of the app, and an accompanying website.

The English verison of the Storytime app is free.

Download the iOS app: https://itunes.apple.com/en/app/id1100125739

Download the Android app: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=storytime.storytimeliteen

You can search or filter stories based on a variety of criteria, including subject (dragons, or princesses, etc.) and time it takes to read it. The Dutch version is available now for iOS and Android.

You can submit your own stories to be included in the app; while you do not receive pay, neither are the Velthuizens, and you are supporting literacy and inculcating the joy of reading. You can also request your stories be removed at any time. For more information, see Storytime for Kids Questions and Answers, and you can find more information on Facebook as well.

Absolute Write’s Tribute to Inkspot

You might wonder how the staff at other writing websites feel when one of our “competitors” goes out of business.  Are we glad?  Do we rub our hands together with glee and cross out a name on our list of businesses to annihilate?

Hardly.

The online writing community has always been just that: a community.  You’ve probably noticed by now that many of the most involved players in the online writing appear on each others’ sites.

For example, I often write for e-zines like Inscriptions, Script, Scripteaser, Screenwriters Utopia, and, yes— Inkspot. I sell my book through Writers Weekly.  Before we merged (through WriteRead), I wrote for Writer Online, and the editor there helped me find a terrific columnist for Absolute Write. I’ve interviewed Moira Allen Bev Walton-Porter (Inkspot staff) for this site, and many writers’ sites (Writers Review, Writer’s Exchange, etc.) have interviewed me. Why?  Because I really like all of their work, and we all have a great respect for one another’s efforts to help writers.

What it comes down to is that, even if there is some level of “competition” between us, it’s a very family-like community.  We help each other, we give to each other, we celebrate each others’ successes, and we grieve each other’s losses.

Such is the case now.

When I first came online, Inkspot was one of the only writing communities on the Internet . . . and it was wonderful, even back then. It kept growing and growing, and became the inspiration for many other writing sites. Inkspot was a terrific place for writers to learn, network, make friends, find work, and get support. It was a friendly spot, and it was quite obvious that the staff was always looking for new ways to help writers. While I didn’t know Debbie personally, she has always been a role model to me as I set out to create Absolute Write.

That’s why we’ve all had such a strong reaction to the news that it will no longer be there.  It’s like losing a good friend.

I’ve gotten lots of letters from writers who were shocked and upset to hear the news, and many have asked if we can somehow “save” Inkspot’s staff. We’d love to, and we welcome the chance to work with the writers and editors of Inkspot. We will try to serve the readers through PubWeek, WriterOnline, and Absolute Write, bolstering our efforts to make up for this gap. Feel free to write to me if you have suggestions for how we can best do that.

So, this issue of Absolute Write is dedicated to Inkspot. We appreciate all they’ve done to bring online writers together, guide us, and help us through the years, and they will be sorely missed.  We wish them all bright futures, and we certainly expect that we haven’t heard the last of them yet!

Jenna Glatzer
2001