Common Sense


Apps and Sites for Storytelling

It's important for students of all ages to be able to convey their point of view in a compelling and well-structured way. While storytelling has long been part of the classroom, it's also a part of daily life. To be the change makers of the future, students must learn to present their ideas and express themselves creatively. In ELA classrooms, storytelling has additional, practical purpose. By telling their own stories, students can become more critical readers, gaining new insights into narrative structure and characterization. To create stories, students must also build organization and executive function skills. Of course, digital tools have expanded the range of ways students can now tell their stories. The great digital storytelling apps and sites on this list run the gamut: from traditional storybook creation tools to more recent visual storytelling and presentation tools influenced by social media and blogging. Below you'll find our favorites, all of which empower kids to find their unique voices as storytellers, creators, orators, and individuals.

Interested in seeing how two of the best storytelling apps compare? Check out our EdTech Showdown featuring Book Creator and Shadow Puppet EDU.

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Top Picks


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Kid in Story Book Maker

Easy-to-make personalized stories can help boost social skills

Bottom line: A must-have story creation tool for teachers in special-needs settings.

Tell About This

Photo and word prompts inspire storytelling; app records the results

Bottom line: Versatile tool can be used as a pre-writing or publishing activity.

Imagistory: Schools Edition - Creative Storytelling

Kids use pictures to create narrative adventures in easy-to-use app

Bottom line: Illustrated story prompts are a great start for creative storytelling.

Storyline Online

Notable actors' read alouds bring kids' storybooks to life

Bottom line: Kids can experience the magic of books; though even better when accompanied by the site's extensions for further activities and reading

Write About This

Fun pictures and prompts are great for getting kids to start writing

Bottom line: The tool’s flexibility for many possible applications makes it an excellent bet.

My Story Book Creator School Edition

Sleek platform is a great artistic tool, intro to digital creation

Bottom line: This is a great and accessible option for getting kids telling stories and introducing them to digital creation tools.

Scribble Press - Creative Book Maker for Kids

Terrific book creator encourages self-expression for all young writers

Bottom line: A quality way for kids to explore storytelling, illustrating, and publishing.

Toontastic 3D

Flexible tool hands kids the reins for creative animated storytelling

Bottom line: Despite some lack of variety and simple drawing tools, Toontastic 3D remains a terrific, versatile storytelling tool.


Social storytelling fun; artwork inspires, but limits creative freedom

Bottom line: For anyone interested in kid-authored storybooks, this is a great resource.

CAST UDL Book Builder

Sensitively designed so any student can write and share books

Bottom line: CAST UDL Book Builder is an excellent resource to get kids started on digital content creation; it's simple and straightforward and caters to a variety of learning styles.

Shadow Puppet Edu

Resource-rich video slide-show maker a gem for a variety of classrooms

Bottom line: Easy-to-use free tool is a must-have for elementary classrooms; just keep an eye on sharing and privacy.


Storybook creation site has great support for classrooms

Bottom line: Reliable, easy-to-use storytelling tool gives students solid tools to tell a story, collaborate with others, and share their work.


Popular comic creation tool well-tuned to classrooms

Bottom line: Students will be motivated to share subject knowledge using the fun language of comics.

Book Creator

Magically easy way to create and publish digital books and multimedia

Bottom line: This is a top-quality creation tool that lets students of many ages and abilities publish their own digital books.

Make Beliefs Comix

Comic creation tool has wealth of resources, busy design

Bottom line: While it feels a little dated and disorganized, Make Beliefs Comix retains its just charm and can promote creativity and self-expression.

Animation & Drawing by Do Ink

One-stop animation tool for beginners through experts

Bottom line: Accessible entry into animation for beginning students, but with enough depth to satisfy more advanced artists.

Explain Everything

Powerhouse tool for creating stellar multimedia presentations

Bottom line: Teachers and students can make dynamic presentations that involve different types of media in this innovative, fun app.

Plotagon Education

Create animated movies with customized characters and actions

Bottom line: A fun way to show understanding of any subject matter, especially for those who enjoy making movies.


One-stop shop for creating and assigning beautiful video stories

Bottom line: Set students up for storytelling success with quality content and tools in a safe environment.

GoAnimate for Schools

Make professional-looking animations with easy-to-use tool

Bottom line: This highly engaging animation tool is a fun way for students to experiment with storytelling and digital creation.

NaNoWriMo Young Writers Program

Wildly engaging contest turns students into novelists in 30 days

Bottom line: A thoughtful adaptation of the famous and fun grown-up novel writing contest, NaNoWriMo Young Writers Program is brimming with advice and encouragement as well as classroom support.

Adobe Premiere Clip

Decent on-the-go video editor shines when using other Adobe tools

Bottom line: It's a good tool that gets better when using other Creative Cloud apps, but the limited features make this a hard sell for anything other than introductory editing.

Microsoft Sway

Cool scroll effects, flexible features boost visual storytelling tool

Bottom line: A great tool for design and presentation, if great visuals and easy sharing trump having the active viewing features present in other tools.


A slick way to share knowledge via interactive timelines and stories

Bottom line: With a super simple design, interactive features, and an imaginative personal approach, it's an easy and flexible tool for all kinds of classrooms.

Play or design text adventures, but creation can get technical

Bottom line: Text adventures can be a blast to play and make, but the Quest game-making tool, while offering some decent support, can be tough to use effectively without coding experience.


Cool interactive story creator can both dazzle and baffle

Bottom line: Twine is a fascinating tool to build interactive stories, but the "function first" interface means it'll take patience and time.

Animoto Video Slideshow Maker

Slick video slide-show tool lets kids tell stories and share them

Bottom line: Anything that happens during school can be turned into an engaging video slide show.

Story Wars

Read, write, and vote on engaging collaborative storytelling site

Bottom line: A cool, competitive approach to online storytelling with a lot of learning potential -- just be aware of the iffy content and licensing risks.

Where the Water Tastes Like Wine

Slow but alluring game uniquely depicts how folklore shaped America

Bottom line: While it's not perfect, it could serve as a nice complement to a unit on American folklore or as a way to inspire students to write their own tall tales.

Youth Voices

Vibrant online community hosts authentic student writing

Bottom line: Supported student writing, collaboration, and communication make this a healthy space for kids to express themselves.

Adobe Spark

Super-flexible design tool for crafting fab images, videos, and sites

Bottom line: This free, one-stop shop for creating sleek graphics, web stories, and animated videos is incredibly easy to use and challenges students to think critically about visual presentation.

Composer Pro

Fully loaded, top-of-the-line tool for creating polished ebooks

Bottom line: Amazing resource is a must for PBL and writers' workshops where kids create relevant, professional-looking products.


Crowdsourcing is key to making history accessible, approachable

Bottom line: Historypin is an engaging tool to get kids interested in the history of their community and the world.

TouchCast Studio

Cool tool takes videos to next level, but some privacy concerns

Bottom line: TouchCast is a creative tool for students to use to present information, but teachers should monitor use.

Write the World

Global community helps young writers write, revise, think, and grow

Bottom line: With interest-based writing prompts and thoughtful feedback from peers and pros, this is a great tool for writing for authentic audiences.

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