Website review by Mieke VanderBorght, Common Sense Education | Updated January 2022

StoryJumper

Free storybook creation site has great support for classrooms

Learning rating
Community rating
Based on 8 reviews
Privacy rating
Not yet rated Expert evaluation by Common Sense
Grades
1–8
Subjects & Skills
English Language Arts, Communication & Collaboration, Creativity

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Pros: Students can start with built-in content or add their own. Great inspiration/advice. Print publishing options.

Cons: The design's feeling dated. Younger students might need extra help with some tools.

Bottom Line: Reliable storytelling tool gives students solid tools to create, collaborate, and share work including real, printed books.

Have students work in the Storyjumper tool individually, or create a group project for students to develop a story in small groups or as a class. Teachers can create their own book templates to give students a head start on a particular project. Use the book browser to find books to show students as inspiration. 

Make sure to check out the Teacher's Guide in the Help section for support materials. Review the monthly lesson plans and a catalog of writing project ideas for inspiration. Teachers can read about how other teachers have used StoryJumper in their classroom and even contact them for advice. They can also designate a "lead" teacher in their school to oversee work in multiple classrooms. The site also offers a "write-a-thon" school fundraiser program, where family and friends can sponsor students for publishing a book. Sponsors get a copy of the book, too.

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StoryJumper is a website that lets students create and publish their own illustrated stories. Whether students are beginning writers or brushing up on their skills, StoryJumper provides an outlet for them to use their imaginations as well as learn some real writing strategy if they're ready for it. The simple interface auto-saves students' progress as they drag and drop images to illustrate their stories and add text. A free teacher account includes a separate dashboard, a handful of helpful classroom features, and lots of teaching supports including lesson plan ideas. A collaborative feature allows students to work together to create a story. And the International Collaborative Writing Project pairs interested teachers with another classroom from somewhere else in the world for a story-making exchange. StoryJumper offers Google Classroom integration, and though it's web-based, it can be used on an iPad.

Like many book creation programs, StoryJumper's interface begins with two blank pages. To add illustrations, students choose images from a panel (for example, a brown bear) and drag them over to the page, placing them against a background that they can also choose. They can resize the bear to fit into a mouse hole, or make it Godzilla-size. This image manipulation might even change a student's story, which is why it's such a fun feature. There are a handful of different fonts and colors, and students can overlay text in a variety of stylized banners. Beyond the basics, there are lots of customization options that students could spend a lot of time exploring such as including photos, inserting their own artwork, and designing their own characters. Students can also use the record feature to add their own voice reading the story, or explore other audio options such as background music or sound effects. Authors can purchase digital or hard copies of their own books and make them available for anyone else to buy.

StoryJumper is a great, easy-to-use creative tool that can easily fit into a learning unit from virtually any school subject. It works for a wide age range, though the kid-oriented design will initially put off students at the upper end of the grade spectrum. The design is easy-to-use and functional, yet some may feel that it lags behind some competitors. Little students will enjoy playing around with the preset props, and older students can construct a more advanced story using the many customization options and diving into the advice provided in the StoryStarter section of the site. Putting together the illustrations can be as fun as the writing; the options for props and scenes are extensive and very fun to explore. StoryJumper also includes some nice little touches; for example, when you turn pages, it makes a papery "whoosh" sound to approximate a real book, and kids can comment on published works. When creating a new book, students can start with a template, each of which offers a nice option for beginners to enter their own information and customize a book while learning how to use the interface. However, more templates would be useful to learners. While it's easy for students to jump in and create, younger students will hands-on support to help some through the creation process. Students can also share their books and explore a searchable public library.

Overall Rating

Engagement

The simple interface feels dated but minimizes frustrations. The speedy creation process will satisfy impatient students, and a finished story will hopefully inspire them to write another.

Pedagogy

A printable worksheet introduces the writing process and can help keep students on track. Students can work on their own or collaborate with others. Books can be translated to more than 40 languages.

Support

StoryStarter includes all kinds of prompts that will help students get going. An instructional video tutorial, help menu, and author guide help creators. Lots of teacher resources but no internal system for them to provide feedback to students.


Common Sense reviewer
Mieke VanderBorght Researcher

Community Rating

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Featured review by
Caitlin M. , Media specialist/librarian
Media specialist/librarian
Shorecrest Preparatory School
Saint Petersburg, United States
Easy to use picture book creation tool
StoryJumper has a good repository of background scenes and props. Props can be re-sized, rotated, and copied - but not edited in any other way. StoryJumper allows for users to add personal photos as props and scenes, with limited editing capabilities. There are several options for text boxes. It was easy to create student accounts to use in class, however if you want students to use the program at home it requires a permission slip and parents creating an account themselves.
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