Storio – an ebook reader for little kids – what do you think?

 VTech, specialists in electronic learning for kids, have launched the brand new STORIO, the world’s first animated e-reading book for children. It was developed in response to new research that discovered mums were hungry for electronic learning products that specifically help with their child’s reading. Through the Storio children interact with the story as they read, listening to the words along the way, pressing on any new or difficult words to explain what they mean. It’s big, easy to hold, brightly coloured and easy to use and it definately encourages reading.  I felt really funny (uncomfortable, not haha funny, about this product to start with). I taught my son to read (along with his school) bit by bit, hour upon hour, helping him  sound out words and  guiding him and it was an absolute labour of love. I didn’t want a machine to usurp me with my daughters reading!  Nevertheless. with reservation, I was happy to give it a go.

Storio e-reader form Vtech

Dr. Jeni Riley, specialist in early literacy from the London Institute of Education says “I was delighted to discover that 78% of parents embrace new technology as a positive part of their child’s literacy development. Reading should be fun, and new engaging tools that facilitate this, whist exciting and motivating children, can only be a good thing.”

Oh well I thought (after reading this) ‘spose I need to buck myself up and embrace new technology too! 

I have to say we first took the Storio along to GG (Great Grandmas) 90th birthday party and my 3 year old sat totally absorbed listenig to to Toy Story 3 being read, watching the cool animations and turning the pages of the Storio by pressing the key pad. It certainly kept her occupied for a good part of a 4 HOUR!!! party. My son loved the games (he’s 6) and both were enchanted and found this reader extremely easy to use.

Entertainment over – we were ready to go a bit more advanced!

With 2 different play modes, the Reading System has been designed to develop confidence with reading and words . In ‘ Watch the Story’ mode , children read along with the narrative and press on difficult words to access the story dictionary and learn their meaning. Reading games can also be played, children can interact with the story and learn more about phonics, letters, vowels and more. Suitable for children aged between 3 to 7, each new VTech cartridge opens up a new story, words and games. The Reading System comes with a Toy Story 3 storybook cartridge included , other cartridges can be purchased separately (for about £16.99)  The VTech Reading System features a number of parent extras allowing them to check reading records and follow their child’s progress I can’t yet review this checking process as the websote giving you access to this and extra stories to downlaod goe l;ive in Autumn. I have to say knowing Vtech I am sure it will be fab. The system is compatible with both Microsoft PCs and Apple MAC computers. Parents will be able to monitor their child’s learning by printing out progress reports and reading certificates,  a good and encouraging feature.

I do think the VTech Storio Animated Reading System is an excellent way to SUPPORT reading and language skills. It keeps a child quiet, entertained, learning and happy (not to be underestimated)  When I know what can be downloaded form the site I think I will better abale to assess if this is good value . £16.99 sounds quite dear for each new cartrifdge but you  get a bunch of games too and they amuse for ages so…

It cannot be compared to wonderful , magiacal, endless free books from the library or loads of time from someone who loves them sat helping  a child work out their words (time consuming but free and utterly laden with value). HOWEVER it does embrace modern times I’m sure it is the way of the future and I am sure by the time our kids go to secondary school they will have all the homework on an e-reader and heavy rucksacks will be as archaic as finger less day glo gloves (what? they’re back???)  We NEED to embrace whats coming and I think many, many more e-readers for kids will be launched over the coming years. The Storio is a fab support aid  but it has to a fun and useful reading accessory not a parent replacemnet.

The Storio retails at £59.99 cnd can be bought form all good toys shops. If I had spare cash this would I think be something I would consider but as its price suggests it is quite a luxury toy. 

Reading is one of the greatest pleasures of my life. It has helped me learn, escape, change my mood, it has motivated , inspired, moved and moulded me. It is something I am really happy to invest in so even though it’s expensive I do really like this product.

The 10 day reading challenge.

Despite the wonderful technology they offer Vtech do also absoutely support the concept  of parent -child reading time and are encouraging all parents to comit to reading to their child 10 minutes a day. They are asking people to pledge spend ten minutes reading with your child each day by visiting The National Literacy Trust pledge page. The National Literacy Trust is campaigning to raise awareness that every child has the right to share stories and develop the skills they need for their future..

Have fun reading however you go about it. E-readers are the way forward but I weould strongly advise you never miss the chance to teach your child to read, It’s been one of the most amaizng parts of my parenting life so far. I think technology has a fascinating place however and it is going to be key to our childrens future so we need to get our heads round it now!

What do you think about e-readers for kids?



  1. August 8, 2010 / 7:49 am

    I’m not convinced to be honest. Statistically i’m sure there are many facts and figures that back up the Storio but in my opinion too many things are being replaced by technology. Kieran turned four in July and starts “big” school in September, and we are already working on his writing and letter sound, as started with the preschool, and yes it certainly a labour, but also a labour of love. I’m looking forward to his reading homework,
    I used to sell children’s books and found that increasingly people were turning away from traditional books towards computers for learning and enjoyment and was aghast when a local school closed their library to reopen as a new improved IT Suite. Don’t get me wrong, computers and technology are just fantastic, but we need to ensure we don’t forget the magic and love of a book, and old fashioned bit by bit learning.
    Hope that makes sense??

    That said, 4hrs of entertainment sounds fantastic lol, but perhaps thats what it needs to be, entertainment and a back up for “school” learning.

  2. Becky
    August 8, 2010 / 7:58 am

    OOOh no I didnt let her play it for 4 hours she had about 30 mins …it was a 4 hour party is what I meant! Thats so sad about the school library
    Thanks for your thoughts Nicki x x x

  3. August 8, 2010 / 8:02 am

    That makes more sense, I was almost swayed into going and getting one….. I can bend my opinionfor 4 hour s of a silent four year old! Thanks for this review/post – really interesting.

  4. August 8, 2010 / 8:06 am

    I have to agree not overly thrilled about this idea. I do read ebooks myself but not to Baba he is nearly two and loves his books and will sit for hours taking them off the book shelf and looking at them and making up his own stories. I would hate for him not to do that it is a tough one the feel and smell of a new book is magical and shouldn’t be lost.

  5. Becky
    August 8, 2010 / 8:33 am

    Four hours of a silent four year old – the product would sell for millions!

  6. Nicki Cawood
    August 8, 2010 / 5:16 pm

    The queues would be bigget than the Next sale! :p

  7. Mangla Sachdev
    August 8, 2010 / 10:02 pm


    It sounds like a wonderful product and if it instills a love of reading then it’s worth every penny.

    I just wonder when kids start school and are taught to read will they expect all the high tech stuff and will they be disappointed by a normal book?

    Also, are we slowly killing off their imagination with an ebook reader that has pictures jumping off the pages?

  8. Becky
    August 9, 2010 / 7:14 am

    I’m not sure Mangla – in some ways I tink any film about a book or any book with pictures effects ouur imagination and as we have a visual interpretation of what we have read and we can’t then just imagine it…isn’t this the same?

  9. November 7, 2010 / 3:24 am

    As a Primary Two teacher and the mum of a 2 year old I think any exposure to the written word is a good thing, whether in a book or on an e book. You can’t stop technology and whether you like it or not, e books are here and, although they won’t replace books (hopefully) they are going to be a part of everyday life so why not let your child be involved in that. Toys r us are also selling them cheaper than other retailers and they are also giving you a Vtech clock worth £15 with it for free. always a bonus getting free stuff, especially on the lead up to Santa’s big day!!!

  10. Becky
    November 7, 2010 / 8:17 am

    Thanks for sharin g that Laura we love to hear about bargains at baby budgeting!

  11. Lou Gasçon
    November 14, 2010 / 10:25 am

    Yep! sounds like a good interactive learning tool – in fact recommended by the early learning centre – Toy r Us are out of stock, but I have found it available at £44.95, and debenhams are doing the extra story inserts at 13.60…!
    I suspect that next year we will see the extra story inserts at around £10.00 – not bad value, as one can always ask aunt Sally to make one a birthday pressie…!
    My daughter takes in children under 5, and has a licence and training for such – her opinion is that it is an excellent tool – so baby Mia (3) is getting one for Xmas…
    Thanx Becks, Lorna, Laura and all – Merry Christmas and Happy Hanukkah…

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