What is it?
My Sound Stories is an interactive music and story app to support young children’s listening, speech, language and creativity.
This app is beneficial and fun for all children and especially for deaf children or children with speech, language and communication needs. Children can explore stories brought to life with illustrations, sounds, music and voices. They can treasure and share their stories with friends and family.
Fun, interactive and intuitive
Original stories, music and sounds
Different levels and methods of access
Levels of Accessibility
The app is accessible for a wide range of children. They can enjoy stories through text, recorded narration or British Sign Language videos. They can interact with a variety of sounds that match the pictures, choose from three sounds or even record their own sound for the picture. There are different levels of sensitivity and haptic feedback, creating an all-sensory intuitive experience. Different children will interact with the app in different ways depending on their needs, interests and setting...
Lucy interacts with the different animal sounds and her Mum reads her the rhyming story, whilst they both learn new BSL vocabulary by watching the BSL narration.
Hasan likes to choose from the different sounds, especially the ‘emotion sounds’ that go with the right facial expressions. He listens to the English spoken narration independently.
Tom has explored the sounds and stories and is now starting to record his own sounds and music for the story, getting his friends and his Teacher of the Deaf in his class to help him record sound effects.
Stories are aimed at different ages and abilities. Level 1 develops early listening skills, has simpler topics, every day vocabulary and an easy story line, whereas Level 2 has a wider variety of sounds, more abstract language and more complicated story lines.
Impact on Development
My Sound Stories aims to improve speech, language and communication skills of children aged 3-7 years, especially for deaf children and children with speech, language and communication needs. It empowers children to create something personal and increases confidence to explore and make choices. Designed to be used independently or with a trusted adult (parent/carer/teacher/therapist), it can give parents, carers and teaching staff ideas of how to work creatively with children using sounds and stories.
The app uses environmental and creative sounds and music to target listening skills (sound exploration and auditory discrimination), as well as making and recording sounds and music, which has been evidenced to play a major role in developing aural perceptual processing systems. These facilitate the encoding and identification of speech sounds and patterns, which in turn, enhance language skills (see this UCL report, from page 394). The app also supports vocabulary development (BSL and English) and speech in a creative and fun process.
Creative Futures has proved the impact of similar techniques. Over eight months, their ‘Music for Change’ early years programme saw children improve above expected levels by +3 months in ‘Listening and Attention’, and +4 months in ‘Speaking’. Their ‘Sounding Out’ project with deaf children in 2015 had significant improvements in deaf children’s musical development, self confidence, and communicative interaction.
In a world of increasing demand for Speech and Language Therapy Services and music services, limited supply, and a shift to digital resources, we believe My Sound Stories is the answer. A high-quality, research-led, and fun resource that has been designed by specialists to support children’s speech, language and communication development, creativity, confidence and music skills.
Why is this app important?
At least 25% of children under 5yrs have Speech Language and Communication Needs (SLCN), rising to 50% in areas of socio-economic deprivation. 1 in 1,000 children are deaf at the age of 3, and around 40% of these children have additional learning or special needs such as autism. Deaf children face numerous difficulties which impact their learning and social development, such as speech perception in noisy classroom environments.
Deaf children and those with broader SLCN who struggle with speech, language and communication skills will struggle with wider learning and are unlikely to achieve their potential – challenges exacerbated by reduced education support due to coronavirus lockdowns.
My Sound Stories has the potential to help close the educational attainment gap between the most and least disadvantaged children starting school – and thus improve the long-term prospects of thousands of children.
Music & Storytelling Workshops
My Sound Stories workshops combine creative music making and story-telling for an innovative and fun experience.
This project invites children, their parents / carers and teaching staff to become collaborators in the creation of a digital sound work that can be shared with friends, families and the wider school community. This project is designed specifically for children with hearing impairments. It combines structured activity and opportunities for creative exploration.
All children, parents / carers and teaching staff will work together to create a group story with their own characters, scenes and plots. Together they will discover how different sounds, music and voices can bring their story to life so it can be recorded, shared and celebrated.
At the heart of the project is to both develop children’s engagement in books, stories, music and sounds, whilst giving parents and teachers new ideas and activities they can use at home and in school to support their children with their speech, language and music development in a child-lead approach.
The workshops can vary from 1 day to longer projects of 5 days during holidays or term time.
Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org to find out more or to make a booking.
Who we are
Phoebe Osborne designed the initial concept of the My Sound
Stories app and is the founder of Sound Stories CIC. She has been
working in music for 16 years and specialises in facilitating accessible,
creative music workshops for a wide range of participants using voice,
piano, guitar and song-writing. Phoebe is also a specialist Speech and
Language Therapist working in the 0-25s Deafness team in the
Barts Health, London NHS.
Through these specialist roles, Phoebe realised there was a need for a modern resource for families that is both fun, creative and targets communication and listening skills. She founded the community interest company 'Sound Stories' and has partnered with Creative Futures UK to develop this app ‘My Sound Stories’.
Creative Futures (website) is a multi-arts charity which offers
transformative experiences through the arts for children, particularly
those from disadvantaged backgrounds and in areas of socio-
economic deprivation. Since 2011 they have delivered 100+ projects
working with more than 25,000 children. Thousands more are now
able to benefit from their various free, high-quality online resources
for families and teachers.
Creative Futures has worked extensively in the Early Years and special educational needs sectors, delivering projects with deaf children under 5 in areas of socio-economic deprivation with high levels of SLCN. They have a track record of creating and delivering projects that target Speech Language and Communication needs creatively through music, and have evidenced significant changes through these projects.