Saturday, January 25, 2014

Using Storybird to Enhance Storytelling

A few years ago, I came across the website,, where students can create their own books.  The great thing about it is that it has so many illustrations that can inspire a child's story.  I'm going to walk you through Storybird so you can get an idea of what it's all about.

As a teacher, you can create an account for yourself.  I have all of my students log in under the username and password I have set up to avoid having to create one for each student.  To keep all of the stories straight, they just type their first name and last initial on the title page and designate themselves as the author.

 When I log in, I see this screen.  It shows how many published and unpublished stories are in my account.

This is an example of a few pages from one of the books a student of mine made.

You can see how she used the images available to help generate her text.  So, you're probably asking what kinds of pictures can you get on this website. 

When you log in and create your own story, the first thing you will see are a bunch of pictures.  Obviously, most people won't want to use the pictures that are automatically suggested, so you can use the links on the side to help narrow it down.  They also have a search feature where you can type in what you are looking for.  You can see I typed in candy....because that's on my mind right now.  :)

When I submitted candy as my search term, a bunch of pictures with candy in them came up.  I chose the picture of the girl on a donut raft holding a lollipop....because that donut looks pretty delicious.

Now, it brought me to a bunch of pictures by that illustrator that are similar to the one I chose.  In the top right corner of my screen, I clicked, "Use this Art" and then click, "For a Story" so that I can start to write.

Now, I'm at the part where I can start to create  story.  All of those pictures from that art collection are now on the side of my screen.  Below, the blank page, you can see where I can add pages and remove pages.  It's super easy.  You just have to drag a picture onto the blank page.  They give you a bunch of different layout formats.  I'll show you some of them below.

Now, all you have to do is keep adding pages, illustrations, and text.  Once the book is published, you also have the ability to purchase a print copy of that book.  The only downfall of this is that I haven't found out a way to actually print out a copy.  

After using Storybird for a few years this is what I have found...

1)  Sometimes students struggle with creating a whole cohesive story.  Many times they just want to write about what is happening in each separate picture.  This can lead stories to be choppy and not consistent in their content.

2)  This works really well for free writing.  Because you can't do any prewriting since all of the illustrations are online, I let students use it in the computer lab if they finish something early.  Some even like to go on there during indoor recess.  

3)  If you don't want the students to write a whole story with many illustrations, this works really well for having them find a picture and write a descriptive paragraph or short story about what the child sees in the image. 

I'm sure there are many other ways to use this website.  If you use it and have found success, please leave a comment.  I'd love to hear what you are doing!

1 comment:

  1. Melissa-
    I've used Storybird with my 4th graders for a few years now. Love it! I have printed by taking screen shots of each page.