Lesson Plan

Publishing Personal Narratives as eBooks

Students will use the Book Writer App and iPads to publish an original personal narrative that includes drawings and/or photos, and text and/or audio narration to bring their story to life.
Andrea A.
Classroom teacher
Russell Ranch Elementary School
Folsom, CA
Show More
My Grades 1
My Subjects English Language Arts, English Language Learning, Math, Science, Social Studies

Students will be able to...design, produce, and present a digital story as well as develop and strengthen their digital literacy skills by using an app that combines text, still images, audio, and other media components.

English Language Arts
reading fluency
writing clearly
Grades 1
All Notes
Teacher Notes
Student Notes

1 Hook

Ask students what stories they first remember hearing. Who was the storyteller? What were their favorite stories? Which did they like telling themselves? Lead the discussion to digital storytelling. Teacher then shares his/her own digital personal narrative with the class and explains that students will individually or in groups publish one of their personal narratives by creating their own eBook with the App Book Writer.

2 Direct Instruction

Choose a story to publish

By the end of the unit students should have several personal narratives to choose from including but not limited to personal experiences, special events, vactions, sports, afterschool programs, family, and pets.
Discuss with students what story they want to tell.
Note: This can be a group or individual activity. If this is the first time your class has created a story, a group effort may be easier to manage.

Organize the paper draft of the selected personal narrative. With my first graders, I use a piece of paper (double sided) with a blank box on one half of the page and lines for writing on the other half. I fold the paper in half and it makes a “booklet” of four pages. For the drafting process I teach students to write what happened First (on the first page), Next (on the second page), Then (on the third page), Last (on the fourth page). They end with a feeling, wish, or memory).
If working in groups different students can develop different parts of the story. Also, if this is your students' first experience with digital storytelling, keep the story short (e.g. 4 pages).

How to make your eBook

  • First Teacher models how to open the Book Writer App and select a template for new book.
  • Next, Teacher models how to make a cover by inserting a picture or drawing an illustration. Then adding the text box to type the title and author's name.
  • Then model how to add a picture or illustration to each page.
  • After adding the pictures and illustrations show students how to type the text or record their voice to narrate the page or how to do both.

3 Guided Practice

Guide students through each step in the book making process.

  • Explain to students that you are going to all write the same class story as practice so they can become familiar with how to use the app.
  • Pass out iPads to each student or group of students.
  • Show students what the Book Writer App icon looks like, have them find the app, and open it.
  • Once in the app show them how to choose a template.
  • Ask students to select the template you chose.
  • Show them how to draw an illustration with the paintbrush tool or how to insert a picture from the camera roll.
  • Demonstrate how to use the text box to type the Title and Author's name. Show them how to change the font style and size by tapping on the orange paintbrush icon in the upper right hand corner.
  • Next teach students how to add the pictures or illustrations for the first page.
  • After adding the pictures or illustrations. Show them how to add the text box to type this part of the story. *Students can record their voice to narrate this part of the story instead of typing the text or they can include both the text and voice narration. *You might want to have students record their voices one at a time.
  • After having students try these steps out, you can have them open a new template to begin their own story or continue to go through the previous steps again to show how to create the rest of the pages.
Student Instructions
  • Open the Book Writer App on your iPad.
  • Select the template I did for our personal narrative.
  • Draw an illustration with the paintbrush tool or insert a picture from the camera roll.
  • Click on the box with a capital T (Text box tool) then tap in the box to start typing the title and author's name.
  • Change the font style and size by tapping on the orange paintbrush icon in the upper right hand corner.
  • Add the text box to type this part of the story, or record your voice to narrate this part of the story instead of typing the text; or you can do both the text and voice narration.
  • Open a new template to create their own eBook or continue working with the teacher.

4 Independent practice

*Note this will take several days to complete.

  • Students select a template
  • Create their cover adding a title and their name
  • Build each page by adding an illustration or picture, typing the text, or recording their voice or including both the text and their voice.
  • Proof read, edit, and revise their eBook.
  • Publish their eBook
Student Instructions

Students work independently or in groups to complete their eBook.

5 wrap-up

To share a student's final copy, you can send/publish their book by choosing to open it in another app like Google Drive, iBooks, or Book Creator (this will depend on what apps are installed on the iPad). You can also copy it to iTunes, iCloud, send it as a PDF, e-mail it, or print it.

After students create an eBook, discuss as a class what they found to be most interesting about digital storytelling compared to traditional storytelling. Check for student understanding that, by using other media, stories can be far more than just text.

6 Evaluation/Assessment

Activity: Assessing

Look for:

  • Student participation and engagement
  • Discussion that yields insightful comparisons between digital and traditional storytelling.
  • An understanding that media can help make stories far more than just text.

Find and download a rubric for students and the teacher to use to evaluate their projects. One collection of rubrics for evaluation of multimedia projects may be found on http://www.schrockguide.net/digital-storytelling.html