A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this website.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that StoryJumper is a charming and easy-to-use tool that gives kids a template to create their own short children's books. Very young kids might need some help with the text, but they'll do fine with the illustrations, created by dragging and dropping a series of images onto the page. StoryJumper would make a fun after-school activity, as it's almost game-like, and kids can get into creating virtual environments featuring the characters they've brought to life. Parents should also be aware that though there aren't any ads on the site, it does push for printed versions of created stories made at a specific price.
What's it about?
STORYJUMPER lets kids create and publish their own illustrated stories. Whether they're beginning writers or seasoned pros, StoryJumper provides an outlet for kids to use their imaginations as well as learn some real writing strategy if they're ready for it. The simple interface lets kids illustrate one page using a drag-and-drop graphics system while adding their own text on the facing page. When kids are finished, they can publish their story as viewable to the public, as private, or as viewable to friends and family only on the StoryJumper site. They also have the option of purchasing a hardcover version for $24.95.
Is it any good?
This creative-writing site works for a wide age range; little kids will love playing around with the graphics, and older kids can construct a more advanced story using the advice provided in the StoryStarter section of the site. Putting together the illustrations is almost more fun than the actual writing; the graphic options are incredibly detailed 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. Kids will also have the option to share their books with friends and family, while also searching through a publicly available library of books from other users. But the instructional information on StoryJumper isn't quite simple enough for younger kids. Parents will have to provide hands-on support to help them some through the creation process, especially if they choose to make a physical copy of their story. But for budding writers looking for a way to bring their ideas to life, StoryJumper is an excellent writing tool.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about reading books. When you read books, which story elements do you notice, such as character and plot? Which qualities make the main character special? What changed in the story from beginning to end?
Kids could start a series of books starring their favorite protagonist. What makes this character so interesting and important to the story?
Bring the whole family in on the story-writing. Try an "exquisite corpse" activity, in which each member of the family writes a page after seeing only the page before it, and so on.
- Subjects: Language & Reading: reading, storytelling, writing
- Skills: Thinking & Reasoning: decision-making, strategy, thinking critically
Creativity: imagination, making new creations, producing new content
Self-Direction: work to achieve goals
Communication: multiple forms of expression
Tech Skills: digital creation, using and applying technology
- Genre: Creating
- Price: Free /w optional paid publishing
- Pricing structure: Free (As an option, users can choose to have their creations published. The prices range from $24.95 for a hardcover book to $12.95 for a paperback, although books over 16-20 pages incur an extra $0.25 per page. There's also an option for a digital version of the book for $2.95.)
For kids who love creating with tech
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