Spinout Stories FAQ

 Q. I have just installed Mac OS X 10.7 "Lion" on my Mac, and Spinout Stories no longer works.

 A. The original Spinout Stories is a PowerPC app. With the introduction of Lion, Apple no longer supports PowerPC apps. We have since upgraded Spinout Stories to be Lion-compliant.

 

 

Q. I can see logs for all my students when viewing the tracking file, but when I "Inspect the selected user's tracking log", there's nothing there. 

 A. Make sure your user names don't have any spaces in them (eg "Alex Jones") Spaces will break the software which searches the tracking file by field position. Use single names only or replace spaces with dot or underscore.

 Q. Attempting to install on a Macintosh results in an Error 2 or Error 3.

 A. Some older Mac installations may need an extension upgrade and a later OS. Email Greygum Support for a solution.

 

 Q. Using Cloze Type on Windows, the typed text won't fit in the box.

 A. This is a fault in the software. The quick workaround is to try some different fonts until you find one which fits. Contact Greygum Support for a patch.

 

 Q. Selecting an activity from the Launcher does nothing. (Windows only)

 A. This is a fault in the software which MAY occur on some systems if the installation path to the software includes a folder which contains a space (eg "Program Files"). The quick workaround is to move the software or rename the offending folder. Contact Greygum Support for a patch (Version 1.2.2).

Spinout Stories Review

     

by Elizabeth Gowing
Norwood Achievement Partnership, UK

 

 

 

 

 

 I am a member of the Norwood Achievement Partnership ICT working party, a group of teachers from seven schools (secondary and primary) who meet every half term to share feedback on new software we have tried in the classroom. I used Spinout Stories with children in an inner city secondary school and both myself and the children found it an inspiring extension to our more traditional ways of teaching reading comprehension.

The CD ROM gives integrated support of reading, writing and spelling. I found the reading particularly helpful and really easily differentiated (there are three levels of difficulty for each story and a comprehension quiz, cloze activities, worksheets and wordsearches to accompany them). I also liked – and the SEN children I worked with really appreciated – the fact that the ICT skills you need to use the programme were basic, which meant they could focus on their development in English. They also liked the clear instructions and the ease of getting around the programme, with attractive illustrations.

The children I focused on were SEN children in secondary schools and when I shared what we had done with the rest of the ICT working party, the primary teachers felt it would be useful for mainstream work in Key Stage 2. And, although you can choose not to use this function, it is also particularly appropriate for EAL pupils as the text can be read out – in an authentic Neighbours Australian accent! It didn’t take long to set up as a teacher and it wasn’t just a ‘worksheet on screen’ – there were appropriate expectations of what the children should be doing. It was supportive enough that they could work independently and with constant reinforcement was suitable even for children with a short concentration span.

Spinout Stories is definitely a useful addition to your resource bank for teaching comprehension skills within reading and you will no doubt find – as I did – that your children thank you for using it!

Spinout Stories Sample Pages

 

 Text used in the books is from the most difficult level of the software. Selected enrichment text is shown at the bottom of each page.

 

  
 

 

Spinout Stories Screenshots

 

The simplest level of text is combined with high interest topics. By clicking on the speaker icon, students can hear the text read aloud. By clicking on an individual word, they can hear that word read aloud in a different voice, a great help to ESL students.

 

 

The most difficult of the three levels offers an enrichment option, where special words are highlighted in blue. Clicking on any of these opens a panel of information-rich text (below), which itself links to even more information.

 
  Cloze exercises are available at all text levels.  
  Students can modify the existing story, or write their own version. Their story can be saved, spoken aloud (if the computer has text-to-speech software installed) and printed, with or without pictures.  
  Jigsaw is a popular comprehension exercise that uses the text of the story. As each word in the sentence is chosen, more of the picture is revealed.  
       

Spinout Stories

 

 

 


Literacy resources for older students with reading difficulties

 

 

Years 5 to 9

 

      
 

 

 

Spinout Stories are collections of high interest stories and related activities especially designed to appeal to upper primary and lower secondary students who are still struggling with literacy.

Each story is available at three levels of reading difficulty, to suit a wide range of students.

  • Topics to suit older “early” readers
  • There are two topics in each pack.
  • Each topic offers two stories of different styles.


Some stories are fictional, some are informative. Some are both. All are designed to grab the attention of reluctant readers.

 

 

Pack

 

Story

 

Topic

 

Style

Blue

 

 

 

 

Diesels and Dirt

large machines

information

 

The best mechanic

large machines

fiction

 

Saltwater Crocodiles

crocodiles

information

 

Reptile Zoo

crocodiles

narrative

Red

 

 

 

 

Gorilla Gang

dreams

fiction

 

Dream to stay alive

dreams

information

 

Shark Ride Bay

surfing

fiction

 

Surf Shop

surfing

narrative

 

Enrichment Reading

Clicking on key words gives access to Spinout’s powerful hypertext facility, which encourages students to follow up more details of the story. This encourages students to read more and more in order to obtain information beyond the basic text of the main story.

For example, clicking on “trucks” (or on the truck in the picture) opens a new window of text that gives more detailed information about trucks. This text offers further links to words such as “engine” and “tray”, giving even more leads for students to follow their particular interests and encouraging them to read more adventurously.

Read It, Hear It, Write It, Print It!!

The computer can read all the story text aloud (with an Australian accent). It can also help students check their own reading by saying individual words (in a different voice) upon request.

Voice Sample

Students can use Spinout’s facilities to write their own version of a story and print it, complete with all the illustrations, in black and white or colour.

Full Colour Books

The Spinout stories are supplied in book form as well as on CD. Extra copies are available: contact Greygum Software for details.

Extra Skill-building Exercises

Each CD contains related reading activities, based on the text of the stories on the CD. The activities are designed to develop students’ basic skills and to give them confidence in reading and understanding. All the exercises have been carefully designed by experienced teachers.

 

Pack 

 Exercise

 Activity

Blue    
  Jigsaw word recognition
  Concentration word recognition
  Word Ladders building vocabulary
Red    
  Cloze reading with comprehension
  Wordsquare word recognition
  Quiz comprehension

 

Meeting Individual Needs

Using the Teacher Controls, Spinout Stories can be set up to meets the needs of individual students. Level of difficulty, fonts, special needs requirements and availability of printing are just some of the options that can be set.

The teacher can also check a log of the time each student spends on each activity to help identify an individual’s strengths and possible weaknesses.

Bonus Package

Also included in each pack is a copy of Spinworks, a powerful teacher’s helper that turns any of the Spinout Stories, PM Story Books, Fitzroy Talking Readers or any text file into a set of worksheets in seconds. Details...

Platforms

Package includes a CD suitable for Windows (including Windows 10 64-bit).

The mobile versions of Spinout Red and Spinout Blue are available from the Apple iTunes Store. These versions do not include the ability to write your own stories and do not include any of the extension exercises or SpinWorks.
 

Note for Mac Users.

Since Apple has announced that they will discontinue support for 32-bit apps in the near future, we have withdrawn the Mac version of this app. If you want the Mac version anyway, and understand that an upcoming release of Mac OS will not run it, email us and we'll work something out.

 

Online Shopping

Please use this facility only if you want delivery within Australia, where the freight and tax charges are fixed. You don't need a PayPal account, just a credit card.

 

If you want delivery outside Australia, or you are an educational institution and prefer to be invoiced, just email us your order and we'll contact you for payment and shipping details.

 

Spinout Stories - Single User

$143.00 (inc GST) 

Collection

 

 

Spinout Stories - Site Licence

$286.00 (inc GST) 

Collection
Name of school to appear on Site Licence