Common Sense


Apps and Sites for Storytelling

Use these great storytelling apps and websites to help students of all ages tell their stories in compelling, well-structured, and thoughtful ways. While storytelling has long been part of the classroom, it's also an increasingly important part of daily life -- from social media to dinner parties to business presentations. 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 purposes. 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.

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Top Picks


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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.

Novel Effect: Read Aloud Books

Add music, sound effects to books to spice up story time

Bottom line: This will enhance -- but not necessarily enrich -- stories; if that's what you're looking for, it works well and pairs with A-list books.

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 School eBook Maker

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.

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.

Writing A-Z

Abundant, thorough resources help both teachers and students

Bottom line: This full-service program can help teachers easily weave writing into their curriculum.



Social storytelling site helps kids create, publish storybooks

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


Storybook creation tool offers cool blend of ELA, art, and coding

Bottom line: This is a great storytelling tool for younger kids that also offers an entry point into coding and computational thinking.

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.

Common Sense Selection


Popular comics platform puts students' focus on creation

Bottom line: This is a platform with the potential to motivate students, getting them to share subject knowledge in a way that blends art and literacy.

Shadow Puppet Edu

Resource-rich video slideshow 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.

Historias Para Armar

Spanish site combines storytelling and media meaningfully

Bottom line: The interactive tools, educational videos, and collection of projects and resources seamlessly lend themselves to meaningful storytelling.

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.

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 charm and can promote creativity and self-expression.

Common Sense Selection

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.


Collaborative writing game inspires purposeful storytelling

Bottom line: With some planning and customization, this unique card game can motivate thoughtful and sustained creative writing in your classroom.


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.

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.


Movie editor will satisfy beginner and intermediate creators

Bottom line: Despite some limitations with editing, it's the perfect tool to get teachers and students started with digital video production.


Create dynamic visual presentations on flexible storytelling platform

Bottom line: A seamless transition from design to presentation makes Sway a great fit for presenting carefully curated content.


From the everyday to the extraordinary, personal interviews get kids listening

Bottom line: It's a great resource to help demonstrate the value of listening and the importance of storytelling and interviewing skills.

Common Sense Selection


Build timelines, embed media with cool storytelling tool

Bottom line: With a super-simple design and tons of flexible features, this is an appealing and intuitive way for teachers and students to organize and share class content.

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.


Turn text message-style stories and conversations into shareable videos

Bottom line: With careful planning, this app could make storytelling fun and challenge students to write or reimagine dialogue among fictitious or famous characters.


Podcasting app is super easy to use, if you can do it all in one take

Bottom line: There are few easier ways to publish a podcast, but that ease of use comes at the cost of one-take creation and few tools for post-production.

Animoto: Slideshow Maker

Slick video slideshow tool lets kids tell stories and share them

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


Pro-oriented storytelling and mapping tool has classroom potential

Bottom line: Getting comfortable with StoryMapJS will require some focus, but students who take the time will gain a new perspective on digital storytelling.

Youth Voices

Aging online community hosts authentic student writing

Bottom line: With some patience and understanding, this could be a good space for supporting healthy student expression.


Create and share videos with cool effects, tons of language options

Bottom line: This slick video creation app is fun, empowering, and accessible in lots of languages, but be careful with sharing.

TouchCast Studio

Cool tool takes videos to the next level

Bottom line: It's a creative tool for teachers to make interactive video content and for students 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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