Wanna-be Bedtime Story Readers

“Read me a story!”  What to do when you’re out of state, out of the country or off the planet at bedtime?  We can’t always be there in person when that special child in our life is ready for a bedtime story. I live over 500 miles from my granddaughter but I am not alone. There are many long-distance, wanna-be bedtime story readers: traveling parents; grandparents living far away; separated or divorced parents; military parents on deployment; parents working the night shift. Now, thanks to technology, long distances no longer stop us. Here is a small selection of long-distance reading options using our phones, tablets and laptops:

·         Readeo is a “book chat” subscription service that runs in your internet browser. Both the reader and the child see the book and each other; both can turn page. ($9.99 per month to access library. https://www.readeo.com/)

·      Caribu app for iPad lets you “turn video chat into story time.” Caribu integrates children’s books into a child-friendly video -calling app. For iphone or iPad. iTunes reviewers like the app giving it a 4 star average rating. Worth checking out in the app store on your iPhone or iPad. https://caribu.co/

·         Storytime by Kindoma, also video-calling and messaging app for families, provides an app for bedtime reading. Reviews for an older version of the app average 3.5 star rating. Worth checking out in the app store on your iPhone or iPad. www.kindoma.com

·         A Story Before Bed lets you “record a children’s book online with audio and video. Kids can play back the recording as often as they like on iPad, iPhone, Mac or PC. This is a subscription service (one time, $6.99; monthly $9.99; lifetime $99.99). The service also includes a library of pre-recorded books. Library and School plans are priced separately. At one time, A Story Before Bed was giving away free recordings to military parents on deployment away from their children. If this applies to you, it’s worth contacting the company to find out if the offer is still available. www.astorybeforebed.com

·         Be There Bedtime Stories is a subscription service that allows you to record a video on your webcam or iPad of you reading a story from their library of over 250 titles. The video is then emailed to the child you select. You can try the website for free; regular pricing is $9.99 per story. The website also allows users to “donate” a story ($4.99 each) to military families.

Want to see how a pro does it?  Watch Astronaut Kate Rubins read the picture book, Rosie Revere Engineer, from the international space station: http://storytimefromspace.com/rosie-revere-engineer-2/

Anne Dana