Storybird Website Review

It’s not often that I recommend a website, but when I do then it’s because it ticks all the boxes for me a s a parent and a teacher.  Storybird is:

  • designed for children and adults to use

  • is simple to use

  • can be used to teach children of all ages and abilities

  • is hours of fun on a rainy day

What is Storybird About?

It’s a website which allows users to create and share their own written personalised stories.  The stories can then be published for the whole world to see or just sent via email to close family and friends.  Children age 13 and above can create their own account but younger children have to give their parents email address.  Teachers can add children to their accounts by creating classes.  What I love the most about this site is that it allows children to express themselves in modern, interactive and tech-savvy way.  Even the most reluctant writers want to write a Storybird!  If I asked a child to give me 5 words to do with a “train journey”, they would struggle.  But give them a picture like this and the task doesn’t seem so daunting anymore.  Storybird is the key that has unlocked some of my students minds and got them writing.

How Does It Work?

1.  Start by choosing a picture.  You can either browse the themes or search for a particular subject.  I prefer to search for a topic like “pets” or “Christmas”.  Choose the picture you like and use that artwork to start a storybird.  The artwork provided is by professionals and is colourful, detailed and imaginative. It is designed to kick-start children’s thinking and get their ideas flowing.

2.  Once you have decided on the artwork for your first page, it will appear in the centre of the screen with images as thumbnails surrounding it.  You click and drag images onto the page, add pages and change the layout.

3.  The stories can then be published online for the whole world to see or just sent via email to close family and friends. The end product has a professional finish even if there is only one word per page.

Here is a storybird written by one of my students. Tolu is 7 years old and is a budding writer.  Please feel free to add your comments to encourage him.

Take One Storybird Picture…..

You don’t have to write pages and pages to create a storybird.  I take one picture and get children to write just one page worth.  Here are some ideas to try

  1.  Use the picture as a prompt for some descriptive writing.  For example if you search the word “dragon”, choose the best picture and describe the dragon.

  2. Find a picture of a scene like a beach or party or playground.  Use this as the opening scene of a story.

  3. Choose three different characters, and dedicate one page for each character.

  4. Choose 3 different types of weather scenes, and write a diary entry taking place in each type of weather scene.

  5. Younger children love to make lists.  They can just use it to make lists of things they would like to do, things they would like to eat and places they would like to visit.

  6. Use it to make an illustrated dictionary.

The key, in my opinion, is to help children with the planning of their writing. You can help them by listing related vocabulary, brainstorming ideas, putting them in a logical order and deciding how to connect their ideas.  Why don’t you give it a go?