iStoryTime Releases App for Deaf Children

Children’s Lit App Includes Sign-Language Interpretation

iStoryTime, the app developer for DreamWorks Animation’s How to Train Your Dragon, among other audio-visual children’s stories, has developed a reworked version of the popular Danny the Dragon Meets Jimmy. iStoryTime promises that this is only the beginning, with more such stories to come, presuming this one is well-received.

The picture-book app took just a minute to download onto an iPad in the State Street Apple store, and an Independent reporter settled down to watch it, too absorbed to pay any mind to curious glances from other customers. (You can also use it on an iPhone.) You start by choosing between the oral, manual, or sign-language options. If you choose the latter, the colorful picture-book story slowly scrolls while a lady in the bottom-right corner of the screen signs. Everything ran smoothly and the app was simple to use. The sign-language lady is highly expressive yet soothing, as they tend to be.

The story features a young man named Jimmy who inadvisably takes a large shell home with him from the beach. Out of the shell spring Danny the Dragon and a companion, Skipper, whose species is not disclosed. Fortunately, the three bond. Little Jimmy is only too happy to make Danny and Skipper his new best friends.

iStoryTime cofounder Woody Sears said that his company is busy trying to “spread the word about our new product.” Deaf people are still underprovided by media, he said, but new technology, including user-generated apps, is facilitating the development of content for this niche market.

According to its Web site, iStoryTime was founded in 2009 in Santa Barbara by “two fathers and an uncle who love to have fun with their families.”

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