Storybird: Writing Children’s Stories Just Got Easier

Just how easy is it to write a children’s story with Storybird.com?  Ridiculously easy – and ridiculously addictive.  I learned about this on twitter from @Lyn_H and have been cursing her ever since!  Check out this 3-minute screencast introducing http://www.storybird.com:

http://www.screenr.com/embed/OV3s
The first night I found this program, I wrote two books (click on the image to read them on Storybird.com).

             

Children’s literature can be used in the classroom to teach a wealth of topics:

PLOT:  As a Language Arts teacher, I often had the kids write a children’s story as we discussed plot.  Well-written kids’ books have all the aspects of a well-developed plot in a novel or a short story:  the character is introduced, the conflict between the main character and whoever (or whatever) is then explained, often all on the same page.  Conflict keeps building until the end, when there is resolution, and the message/moral of the story becomes clear.

VERBS:  To make an interesting children’s story, the verbs have to be unique but not too difficult to read.  It’s a great way to have young writers find just the right verb to replace ‘be’, ‘got’, ‘have’, etc.

FUN STUFF:  Many kids’ books have wonderful examples of onomatopoaeia, personification, alliteration, and rhyme.  In order for these techniques to be seemlessly woven throughout a book takes a skillful writer.  I always had my students made a diagram of their plot, figure out their characters and conflict, and then once they had finished the ‘meat & potatoes part, then they could ‘accessorize’ with all of the ‘fun stuff’.

Storybird offers an additional challenge to the writer.  While the traditional process is to write and then illustrate, with Storybird, there is a finite set of illustrations that the writing must then fit.  I think it would be fantastic to have an entire class use one artist’s work, and show the kids just how many DIFFERENT stories can be created.  Discussions on creativity, and how inspiration and creativity are different for each person, and how a person’s creativity depends so much on past experiences, etc.  I’ll bet kids could even make pretty accurate guesses if all their classmates’  names were kept off the books, and the students were then asked to match authors to their stories. I think they would discover that every author leaves a bit of them behind in their story.

(Of course this would then lead to lessons in author’s voice…)

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