How to Use iBooks StoryTime With Apple TV

Using TV to Boost Literacy

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Apple’s iBook StoryTime is a free Apple TV app that provides you with a way to boost child literacy using your television. The app provides you with a handpicked catalog of classic children’s titles that you can enjoy on your TV. It’s like a spoken word version of iBooks, but these beautifully illustrated titles are built for television. Each title provides you with Read-Aloud narration, which should help boost child literacy by encouraging them to link words they hear with a text they see on screen. Some books even include amusing sound effects to help maintain engagement in the stories they tell. The feature is quite similar to a Barnes and Noble tool called Read to Me, which used to be available with Nook eReaders.

Some of the first available books to support the app included:

  • Lava
  • Green Eggs and Ham
  • The Little Red Hen
  • Goodnight Moon
  • Chicka Chicka ABC
  • Big Brother Daniel
  • The ABCs of Cookies
  • Meet Tracker

When it first published the app, Apple also provided “Dora’s Big Buddy Race Read-Along Storybook” as a free download to help you get started with using its new app.

What You Need

In order to use iBooks StoryTime:

  • You need an Apple ID with a payment method in place and an Apple TV 4 (or later) running the latest tvOS.
  • You also need the app, which you’ll find in the App Store using your Apple TV.
  • The app isn't available everywhere and may not be available where you are.

How to Download Books

You find and download new titles using the app, select Featured Books from the menu and select the title you want to download. (If you’re not sure about the title you can tap Preview on a book listing to take a look at a sample from the book).

  • When you decide on a book you want you must press Get or Buy.
  • The book will be downloaded and in future made available through the MyBooks section of the app. Just like a film or TV show, the book will start once the download is complete.

You can also buy these books from the iBooks Store or iTunes Store on your iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, Mac or PC – just look out for titles that have Read-Aloud functionality. If you use Family Sharing then any compatible Read-Aloud title you or your family buys will be made available in the My Books section of the app.

How to Read a Book

All your downloaded titles are gathered within the My Books section of the app. It works the same as any other content within an Apple TV app, just select and tap the title you want to read and it will open on the screen. If you’ve already started with a book it can open where you left off, or begin at the start all over again.

You will see the book’s illustrations and the text on the display. The app can read the book for you and flip pages as it goes through the story. Some titles will highlight the current word as the app goes through the text, which should help your children learn to read. You can also pause the Read-Aloud feature (see below), so you can read the book to your children if you wish when you read it yourself you control progress through the title using your Siri Remote.

The Controls

  • Play/Pause: Resume and pause story playback
  • Home: Return to Home screen.
  • Turn off Read-Aloud by pressing Play/Pause to pause playback, then swipe down on your Apple Remote and set Read-Aloud to ‘Off’.
  • Full-screen Mode: You can switch to the full-screen mode using Settings>Apps>iBooks StoryTime>Full Screen