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Special Stories User Guide - Settings

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Settings in Special Stories

The settings for Special Stories can be accessed from the menu button in the main view, and will look similar to those shown here.

  • Animation speed

    This sets the speed at which pages are turned, if you set them to be turned automatically.

  • Advancing to next page

    Set Automatic to ON to make the next page in the story appear automatically, after the spoken words for the previous page have played (with a delay determined by the Animation Speed setting).

    Set Swipe Left or Right to ON to allow swiping to the left to turn to the next page, and swiping to the right to turn to the previous page. Available in version 1.4.0 and later.

    Setting either of these to ON also hides the backward and forward arrow buttons on each page.

  • Turning pages

    When this is ON, the spoken words for each page are played when the page appears. Turn this OFF if you prefer to read the written words before hearing the sounds. If both this and Automatic are ON, all taps are ignored, and the pages are turned automatically, with the spoken words for each page played as soon as it is displayed.

  • Tapping pictures

    When this is ON, the spoken words for each page are played whenever the picture on the page is tapped. If you turn this OFF, tapping the picture will have no effect. If this and Automatic are both ON, but Turning pages is OFF, then tapping the picture on a page plays the associated spoken words and then moves to the next page.

    If both Turning pages and Tapping pictures are OFF, but Automatic is ON, then all taps are ignored, the pages are turned automatically (with a delay determined by the Animation Speed setting), but no sounds are played.

The different combinations of the above 3 settings, and how you can use them, are summarised in the table below:

Page TurningAutomaticSwipeTurning PagesTapping Pictures
by tapping arrow buttonsOFFOFFOFF or ONOFF or ON
by swiping left & rightOFF or ONONOFF or ONOFF or ON
by tapping pictureONOFFOFFON
automatic with soundONOFFONignored
automatic without soundONOFFOFFOFF
  • Record new sounds

    When this is ON, you must record spoken words for each new page you add, before you can save your changes. If you turn it OFF, the sound recording and play buttons don't appear, and you only need to add the text and picture for each page you add. If you don't want to use sounds at all (e.g. for a child who is profoundly deaf), turn off all 3 sound settings.

    If your device doesn't have a microphone, you must turn this option OFF, otherwise you will not be able to add new pages.

  • Font

    You can change the font used to display the text in stories. By default, the Special Letters font included with Special Stories is used. The app also includes two OpenDyslexic fonts, designed to increase readability for users with dyslexia, and you can select these here, as well as the standard Android Sans Serif and Serif fonts.

  • Alignment

By default, the text on each page in a story is centred under the picture, and this is usually the best option for single words or short phrases. However, if you are using longer sentences, you may prefer to have the text left-justified (or right-justified for languages that read right-to-left). This setting was added to Special Stories in version 1.7.0.

  • Large text

    This is ON by default, causing the text for each story's pages to be displayed in a large font size, suitable for those with early or limited reading skills or vision impairment. Turning it OFF uses a smaller font size, so that longer sentences will fit on each page. This setting applies to PDF generation as well as on screen viewing. If there is too much text to fit on the screen, you can use 2 fingers to scroll the text up and down, however the text that's not initially visible will not be visible at all in a PDF copy of the story.

  • Editing

    Turn this OFF to prevent accidental changes to all stories, especially if you have left your child to read on their own. This then disables editing and rearranging existing stories and adding new ones. It also removes the Sharing and Reset options from the menu in the main view, and prevents collections from being edited.

  • Child safety gate

The child safety gate (also sometimes called a parental gate, parental lock or parental control) is designed to prevent children inadvertently changing the settings, importing or exporting content, or opening websites from the app. The gate was added to Special Stories in version 1.7.0.

The gate is enabled by default, so that whenever you select the SettingsSharing or Help from the main menu in the main view, you are required to enter the answer to a calculation to continue, for example:

9 - 3 + 4 =

You can disable the gate, so that access to these activities is unrestricted, other than by the Editing setting above. To do this, turn this switch OFF. You will at that point be presented with one last calculation to perform, in order to confirm your intention. You can re-visit this setting and turn the switch back ON to re-enable the gate.

Note: The gate cannot prevent the child from leaving the app by pressing the device's home button and then opening another app.

  • Product Registration

    In version 1.8.0 and later, there is an additional Registration option at the bottom of the settings screen. By registering, you are then able to download a number of additional stories from the free online library at Special iApps, as described in Chapter 6.  Registration is only available for devices running Android 4.4 or later.

    You register the app once, using your email address, and receive a product key, which you can use to activate on up to 5 devices. Only activated devices have access to the online library.

    If you haven't registered and activated directly from the app's settings, you will be prompted to do so the first time you download a story. For help, refer to our FAQ.

    Reset

    There is a Reset option accessible from the menu in the app's main view. This will undo all changes you have made to Special Stories since you installed it on the device. This includes removing all collections and all stories you have created, and restoring the app's settings to their default values. You cannot undo this once you've done it.

    After confirming that you wish to reset the app, you have to reconfirm by typing the word “Reset” into the box that appears. This is to reduce the chances of a child resetting the app unintentionally. To further prevent accidental use of the Reset button, turn the Editing option off in the Settings, as described above.

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