Storybird

Storybird

Social storytelling site helps kids create, publish storybooks

Learning rating

Community rating

Based on 47 reviews

Privacy rating

Expert evaluation by Common Sense

Grades

K–12

Subjects & Skills

Character & SEL, Communication & Collaboration, Creativity, English Language Arts

Great for

Creating Media, Digital Citizenship, Media Literacy

Price: Free to try
Platforms: Web

Pros: A huge collection of curated art provides student authors with distinct and inspiring illustrations.

Cons: Students can't add their own art to stories, which limits creativity a bit. Students need subscriptions.

Bottom Line: A great fit for teachers looking to develop students' writing and digital citizenship skills through storybook creation.

It's easy to imagine using Storybird as a freewrite station, to prompt various writing tasks, or as a platform for peer workshopping. With a bit of creativity, storytelling can also be linked to a variety of school subjects, including history, science, and even math. Follow the developer-created monthly challenges that inspire students to think about different narrative techniques, a particular illustration, and more. Or, use the guides or interactive courses to lead your students through learning something new about writing. These curriculum guides and courses offer structured lessons and activities as well as some extra bonus features (e.g., more challenges and stickers) for students. Note that at the time of this review, this section of the site had quite a few broken links, so make sure to verify that these are still available.

With a free classroom account, teachers can create assignments, and review and comment on submitted stories. They'll also be able to arrange for purchase of any student-created work, including organizing fundraisers that give 30% of the books' proceeds directly to the school. To bridge the gap between school and home, parents can take their kids' account with them when the class is over.

Storybird is a social platform for storytelling. It's available on the web, iOS, Android, and Chrome. Students act as authors, pairing their words with site-curated, licensed art. Students can compose text, but they can't upload their own art; they must use Storybird's curated collection in their picture books and illustrated poems. There's a seven-day free trial, but after that most features -- outside of reading stories -- require a paid account both for teachers and students. Teachers can also set up a paid classroom account that supports a number of students based on how much they pay.

After signing up or logging in with teacher-provided credentials, students can read published stories or create their own. They can repost favorite stories to their own Storybird account feeds, "heart" stories they like, and comment on them. Students can explore what their classmates have written in the class library or click on the Read tab to browse stories using a variety of filters. When students are ready to create their own, there are three possibilities: picture book, long form (think chapter book), and poetry. To get started, students choose which format they want, and then browse Storybird's art collection to find illustrations that go with (or inspire) their writing. After students choose the art, the editor launches and lets students choose which illustrations to use, add text, and create as many pages as needed to complete their story. The poetry setting resembles magnetic poetry: Students work with one illustration and a collection of word tiles, which they arrange to form a short poem. Authors navigate between pages using a slider at the bottom of the screen, and drag and drop one picture per page or chapter. Students can save and publish stories from the editor and can invite collaborators to work on stories with them. Completing writing activities earns badges and crowns, which can be redeemed for stickers or writing prompts.

Storybird offers a community for storytelling and a well-designed interface for matching words to compelling pictures. It can inspire student writing, but not all students will be inspired by the site on its own. Since students and teachers can also read published stories and comment on them, it offers good opportunities to practice digital citizenship. There's a clear distinction between a private classroom community where stories and comments are shared only with users associated with your class, and the public forum. Stories and comments shared with the public are moderated and curated for readers and teachers interested in specific genres.

It may be a bummer for some that students can't put their own art into Storybird creations, or use their own words in the poetry format. Other students -- for example those who want to illustrate their stories but lack confidence in their own artistic abilities -- will appreciate the variety of unique images in Storybird's collection. This setup really puts the focus on writing. The ever expanding collection of teachers' guides, syllabi, interactive courses, and writing tips cements that focus and makes Storybird a valuable resource for helping students unlock their creative writing skills. It can be a little awkward to browse through all the illustration options in the editor, which may frustrate or limit some. And, in the poetry format, students are forced to use a collection of provided words, which makes it more like a word game than a true opportunity for pure creative expression. Even with these criticisms, Storybird is a unique social platform for sparking creativity, encouraging storytelling, and creating professional-looking storybooks.

Learning Rating

Overall Rating
Engagement

Students will be inspired by the fun, beautiful, and whimsical artwork. They'll also find joy in producing and publishing books they can share with family and friends.

Pedagogy

The social features create an art-infused storytelling community. Students get to make lots of choices here; they'll learn by exploring and exercising their creative storytelling muscles.

Support

It's an attractive, easy-to-use platform with an extensive FAQ-driven help center.

Common Sense reviewer

Community Rating

Gets students excited to create a story!

In the SAMR model, I'd put this website on the redefinition stage. Students are able to design their own story independently, or with a small group, which allows for collaboration. Additionally, students can share their stories with people from all over the world in the community section. This section also allows students to read stories written by others students their own age, which can at times be difficult to find. In the TPACK model, StoryBird helps teachers reach the TCK section. Creating a story isn't new in language arts classes, but this tool enhances the content and allows students to interact and analyze original stories from all over the world. Overall, I found that StoryBird helps students develop critical thinking skills, while working together, and gets them excited to be more creative.

The only downside that I found was that students cannot add their own photos to StoryBird. Because they have to pick something on the website, they can get a little frustrated; however, the images are nice and there are a wide array of options.

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Privacy Rating

Data Safety How safe is this product?

  • Users can interact with trusted users.
  • Unclear whether personal information can be displayed publicly.
  • User-created content is filtered for personal information before being made publicly visible.

Data Rights What rights do I have to the data?

  • Users can create or upload content.
  • Processes to access or review user data are available.
  • Unclear whether this product provides processes to modify data for authorized users.

Ads & Tracking Are there advertisements or tracking?

  • Personal information is not shared for third-party marketing.
  • Unclear whether this product displays traditional or contextual advertisements.
  • Personalised advertising is not displayed.

Continue reading about this tool's privacy practices, including data collection, sharing, and security.

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