You TELL Me Stories, Inc. is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization committed to developing an extensive multi-lingual library of interactive digital picture books and print books that provide parents with resources to develop the read aloud techniques that research has shown make reading aloud most effective, and are critical to the development of pre-literacy skills and Oral Language – THE Foundation for Literacy.

Research and Rationale

Parents are their child’s first teacher, but unfortunately they receive little or no support and/or education in the critical birth to five years of life, years that are crucial to literacy based on recent brain-based research. These five years before a child ever meets a teacher are the most fundamental when it comes to the development of oral language skills— the foundation for literacy. Research demonstrates that children who enter kindergarten with low language are at a distinct disadvantage regarding learning to read and future academic achievement. The solution begins at birth and parents, grandparents and caregivers need support and training on how to foster early literacy in their children.

Technology has allowed us to deliver our methodology in a clear and simple way, and technology is here to stay. However, we do not feel digital picture books should replace print books and therefore we print our books as well. Indeed, screen time should be significantly limited in the first 2.5 years of life. We believe we have brought together the best of high tech (tablets and smartphones) with the best of low tech (parents and caregivers). You TELL Me Stories are unique teaching tools for parents/caregivers and their children to share together.

You TELL Me Stories Model and Methodology

Research tells us that the WAY we read to children is as important as how often we read to children. Interactive reading, asking questions, making comments, paraphrasing vocabulary, is paramount in order to develop the oral language and pre-literacy skills necessary to learn to read and be successful in life.

You TELL Me Stories features WordWinks• (red, italicized words embedded right into the text) that provide the comments and questions to ask, and vocabulary to paraphrase to get children actively engaged and thinking beyond the words on the page- all while listening or being read the story.

  • In Listen with WordWinksa master teacher reads and models for parents/caregivers the types of observations and questions that get children

  • In Read with WordWinksparents/caregivers are given the opportunity to engage in interactive reading by using the WordWinks as points of conversation with their children. There is also the option of turning WordWinks off when parents/caregivers feel comfortable enough to create their own prompts.

Our third YTMS feature, Retell, Record & Share, works in four distinct ways.

  • First- the child is asked to put four illustrations from the story in their proper order, supporting story mapping and sequencing

  • Second- the child can retell and record the story in their own words- an opportunity to utilize new vocabulary introduced in the story, identify important details, build memory, and develop strong oral language

  • Third- the share feature allows a parent/caregiver to email the child’s retell to family, friends and teachers, instilling a sense of pride in both child and caregiver, and encouraging family engagement in the youngster’s journey as an emerging

  • Fourth- Retell Record & Share helps parents/caregiver measure, both verbally and non-verbally, their child’s listening comprehension.

In addition to the digital picture book and print book, YTMS provides complimentary printable free Activity Books related to each title that are available on the website. Some of the skills supported in the Activity Books are fine motor skills, story dictation to promote print concepts, and assorted activities that build phonological awareness- a great resource for both caregivers and teachers. Our interactive digital and print picture books are aligned with the National Core Curriculum Standards.