Brush of Truth, geared to third- through sixth-graders, is the first book app created by Story Bayou, a mom’s vision to get tweens to read. Written in second person, “your” voice, Brush of Truth lets the user choose how the action unfolds at critical points in the plot. Brush of Truth has 125 pages of story and colorful illustrations, with 65 decision points and 20 possible endings. The app is $1.99 on iTunes, Kindle Fire, Google Play (Android) and Windows 7.
Brush of Truth recently won the 2012 Media of the Year award in the Interactive Book App category in Creative Child Magazine’s Creative Toy Awards. The app was named a “Recommended iPad Book App for Older and Reluctant Readers Ages 8-12” by Digital Storytime, and one of “6 Interactive Book Apps to Get Kids Excited About Reading” by Tecca.
The language arts lessons created for Brush of Truth include Powerpoint presentations, worksheets and teacher answer keys. They were developed by Cyndie Sebourn, a retired National Board Certified Teacher and owner of Sascyn Publishing, Inc., which creates Common Core-aligned curriculum for educational apps.
“Brush of Truth is unique in that it is a narrative where children can choose different scenarios as the story progresses. Its curriculum focuses on writing compound and complex sentences correctly, as well as on creative writing,” Sebourn said. “Apps alone in the classroom are not enough; educators need apps with curriculum that is Common Core State Standard-aligned.”
The app tells the story of two tweens who find an enchanted paintbrush. They begin to discover its powers as they go in adventures under the ocean, inside a sand castle, and while rescuing a sea creature.
“With the introduction of the iPads in my classroom, students are clamoring to play Brush of Truth. They love the choices of where the story will take them and it has been a godsend for some of my more reluctant readers,” said Jayne Clare, a founder of the review site Teachers With Apps, and a resource teacher for fifth, sixth, seventh and eighth graders. “My students are loving this app! Every day someone asks for it if I haven't brought it out.”
Julie Landry Laviolette, author of Brush of Truth and founder of Story Bayou said book apps are an emerging trend in children’s literacy. “Book apps are an exciting new tool to get kids to read,” she said. “It also is an inexpensive form of educational technology that reinforces vocabulary skills, higher level thinking , cause and effect and reading comprehension.”
Laviolette, a New Orleans native, is a former columnist and editor for The Times-Picayune. She currently lives in Fort Lauderdale, Fl., where she contributes to The Miami Herald, South Florida Sun-Sentinel, South Florida Parenting and more than 30 regional parenting publications in the U.S. and Canada.
Story Bayou, founded in 2011, partnered with Linxter, Inc., a Cooper City software engineering company, to create the mobile app. Brush of Truth was released in February 2012.