If you have not heard of the app Novel Effect you may want to give it a try for Read Across America Week.
The free app brings popular kid's books to life by playing sound effects, music, and character's voices as you read out loud. Novel Effect works when you read aloud from the corresponding book using voice recognition. I heard about the app while attending the TCEA conference in San Antonio earlier in the month.
I was recently a guest reader in a fifth grade class and decided to give it a try. I downloaded the app to both my iPhone and iPad. I looked through the list of books in the Novel Effect library of soundscapes and found a corresponding book in our school's digital library (Overdrive). If I had a hard copy of the book it would have worked as well.
I then practiced at home. I had the book (Rosie Revere Engineer) open on my laptop and the Novel Effect app open on my iPad.
I also tried reading the book from my Overdrive app on my iPad with the Novel Effect app running in the background and that worked as well.
The day of my read aloud I had the teacher check out the book on her Overdrive account so that it would display on the interactive panel in the classroom. I wanted all the students to be able to see the pictures. I then stood off to the side with the app open on my phone...with the volume up. I was having trouble connecting my phone to the panel's speakers but the students said the phone volume was loud enough. I could have connected it to my blue tooth speakers as an option as well. .
I read through the book with the teacher flipping the pages at her computer and the Novel Effect app picked up my voice and inserted the appropriate sound effects, voices, and music much to the delight of the students and teacher.
If you haven't tried it I would definitely give it a go! It was FREE, fun and easy to use (iOS devices only).
If you try it with your students let me know what book you used and how it went in the comments below or on Twitter (@atechcoachlife). I highly recommend the Rosie Revere Engineer book!