Review by Mieke VanderBorght, Common Sense Education | Updated May 2014

Little Bird Tales

Easy-to-create digital storybooks empowering, even for younger kids

Subjects & skills
Skills
  • Creativity
  • Communication & Collaboration

Subjects
  • Arts
  • English Language Arts
Grades This grade range is a recommendation by Common Sense Education and not the developer/publisher.
1-8
Common Sense says (See details)
Teachers say (5 Reviews)

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5 images

Pros: Easy-to-use drawing tool and audio recording button make this tool accessible to kids of all ages.

Cons: Navigation and how-to takes a little getting used to; stories sometimes take a while to load.

Bottom Line: Digital creation tool offers lots of creative possibilities, allowing kids to showcase learning in a 21st-century way.

Teachers can ask individual kids to create stories, present research, document science projects or field trips, make photo slideshows, and more. All students have an individual account to make their own storybooks, or teachers can facilitate a whole class working together on a single storybook. Lesson templates, tied to Common Core Standards, give teachers a quick start to some creative ways to use this tool, although limited templates are available with the free account. The storyboard includes space for teacher instructions, so teachers can provide page-by-page guidance or just let kids create on their own. Teachers can take advantage of the voice recorder feature by recording their own voices for instruction or by allowing kids who aren't strong readers/writers to narrate their presentations.

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Little Bird Tales offers a platform for kids to create digital storybooks. In their own unique accounts, kids use a drawing pad, upload images from a computer, add text, and record their own voices to create original slideshow stories. Teachers manage classes, add students, create their own storybooks, and browse pre-loaded lesson templates organized by grade. Lesson templates guide kids to complete such activities as reporting on folk tales from around the world with images, text, and audio narration, or counting dots from 1 to 100 by writing numbers on the dots and recording themselves as they count. When kids finish their stories, teachers can review their work on the teacher dashboard. Kids can choose to share their tales through email or post them on the Little Bird Tales website. (All tales are reviewed for inappropriate content before they're posted.) A free account allows a limited number of users, online storage space, and lesson plan templates; all users can print their storybooks or buy an mp4 download to keep. There's also a companion app.

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As with all digital creation tools, Little Bird Tales' utility and learning potential is highly dependent on how the tool is used. The best tools allow for seamless learning with a user-friendly interface and lots of opportunities for kids to express themselves. Little Bird Tales does both fairly well. There could be more how-to help, but after an initial period of orientation, teachers, and even young kids, should find it easy to navigate and create stories. Kids don't even have to be reading, as the audio option allows them to narrate their presentations. And, with image upload and a reasonably extensive drawing board, kids have lots of ways to create. One missing feature is a video upload option. 

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Overall Rating

Engagement Is the product stimulating, entertaining, and engrossing? Will kids want to return?

Storybook tool engages by empowering kids to draw and create original storybooks. An audio recording button allows kids to record their own voices as they narrate their stories.

Pedagogy Is learning content seamlessly baked-in, and do kids build conceptual understanding? Is the product adaptable and empowering? Will skills transfer?

Depth of learning depends mostly on how well this digital storybook-creation tool is used. At the very least, kids can learn how to express themselves through visuals and sound. Lesson templates are available for inspiration.

Support Does the product take into account learners of varying abilities, skill levels, and learning styles? Does it address both struggling and advanced students?

The tool lacks clear how-to tutorials, but navigation is fairly intuitive. Lesson templates and member-created tales are a helpful guide. Visual and audio options make this accessible to kids of varying ages and abilities.


Teacher Reviews

(See all 5 reviews) (5 reviews) Write a review
Featured review by
Ashley F. , Other
Other
Lexington County School District 3
Batesburg-Leesville, SC
Wonderful story-telling app for students of all ages

I love Little Bird Tales as a medium for narrative story-telling. It allows students to express themselves and produce quality digital products that they can share with friends and family. Not only does it support students' literacy, it is also fun to use!

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