STORYJUMPER-What’s Your Story?

by Justine Lavoie

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StoryJumper is a place to create and discover stories for kids.

What is StoryJumper?
S
toryJumper is free site that gives parents, kids, and authors a fun set of intuitive tools for writing and illustrating kids stories and that allows anyone to:

  • create a new book;
  • finish a book;
  • share a book;
  • print a book;
  • read other StoryJumper books.

How does it work?
F
irst, you–kid, parent, teacher, author, or whomever you are–need to create an account by choosing a username, password and then enter your email and birthday (in order to have your account activated, you need to be at least thirteen of age or else you need to have your parents’ approval). Then, the whole process is vague, yet quite simple: whether you read other people’s books or you write one of your own. When you are ready, just click on the “create a book” icon, and you will be redirected to a blank space. On the left hand side are four distinct sections: props, scenes, photos and text, and these roughly represent the four steps of your book-making.  At the top of the page are the pages of your book. They go from the book cover and dedication to the back cover. You can select which page you wish to edit using the four previously mentioned steps. From there, all you need to do is use your imagination to create pages that follow each other and that will soon be your own personalized master-piece. However, if you do not intend to complete your book in one time, you only need to save it and your began book will appear on the home page. Once you are done, click on the “I’m finished” button and your book will be presented to you. If you like the way it is, you can print it, share it, or even have it translated into forty other languages. If you do not like it the way it is, you can edit it as much as you want. If ever you wish to publish your book, very affordable options that go from 1.95$ to as much as you are willing to pay, it is possible for you. StoryJumper offers this great tutorial, that is accessible and understandable for everyone, explaining every step to have your perfect book:

For an ESL teacher in the lower levels,
StoryJumper is amazing. It is because it develops students’ imagination and personal writing style. Also, it can serve as a long-term project that can be done by free times. It allows the teacher to evaluate two of the three curriculum competencies because if used wisely, the creation of a book englobes them. Indeed, competency 3 (to write and produce text), and competency 1 (to interact orally in English) can be part of the project is for starters, students write their own books, and then, present them to their teacher and classmates.

As an ESL teacher in the becoming,
am impressed by StoryJumper. I think the way one can create a personalized book is great. The only thing that bugs me a little is that this tool is whether for young children or for adults because of its childish appearance that would have older children or teenagers lose interest into book creating. Apart from that, this site shares a variety of scenes and props and that, totally free. Therefore, I can really see myself using it in one of my next Practicums or when I become a teacher. Creating a book is a project that can be used as positive reinforcement and done in special times as a reward for students when they behave well.

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Another great thing about StoryJumper
is definitely the Write-o-thon Fundraiser it offers. Indeed, a school has the option of creating a fundraiser in order to raise funds for school material, books, extracurricular activities, you name it! One teacher or one member of the school staff or school council has to get in touch with StoryJumper to enroll the school. After that, students of the school need to write books and find sponsors in their families or surroundings to buy them. In general, students get approximately 4 sponsors each. Then, once they have sold their books, 75% of the profits go to the school, 15% of the profits go to students for them to buy things on StoryJumper or have credit for their books to be published, 7% of the profits go to StoryJumper, and the last 3% of the profits are to cover transaction fees. The Write-o-thon Fundraiser is a pretty good deal for the school and the students who actually usually enjoy this sort of project because they have fun while helping and improving their school.

For students,
StoryJumper is fun and can make flourish one’s creative imagination. It is a motivational tool that allows students to mentally go away for a while, in their own imaginative world. It gives students pride about something they did on their own that cannot be copied, and that is sure unique for them.

For parents,
StoryJumper represents a great opportunity to do something with your child. It can create a unique contact and complicity between the parent and the child because of the moments shared creating the book, the story. Moreover, it is easy to use and may be more comforting for a parent to work with his child on such a project rather than have him play online video games that are much less pedagogical than the creation of a book.

Pros & Cons:
As presented on the StoryJumper Website, StoryJumper presents a series of perks such as:

  • being free;
  • responding to various MELS competencies;
  • presenting no limits (except the one of the child’s imagination);
  • allowing writers to add their own original photos and drawings;
  • offering a Write-o-thon Fundraiser option;
  • being useful in various school subjects such as:
    -English Language Arts;
    -Social Studies;
    -Foreign Languages;
    -Science;
    -Math.

However, StoryJumper also presents areas in need of improvement such as:

  • there is currently no mobile app available therefore, if you want to create a book, you absolutely need a computer to do so;
  • the site may appear a little childish for teenagers;
  • there is not such a vast variety of scenes and props to use;
  • the book edition can be a little expensive if done in a classroom (approximately 25$ per student);
  • the level of difficulty for younger children that might need more assistance when creating their books (some might not even write yet, but the possibility of doing only an illustrated book is offered to them).

Reviews:
From a learning rating, StoryJumper is rated a 5 out of 5 on the engagement aspect, a 4 out of 5 on the pedagogy aspect, and a 3 out of 5 on the support aspect.
From a teacher’s point of view, StoryJumper is an excellent tool because it gets students to write and enjoying it without them noticing that they are working on a school subject.
From a 9 years old child’s point of view, StoryJumper is great.

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Why don’t you just give it a try?

Although I have not published my own book YET, I think that StoryJumper is a great tool that it easy to use and that fits pretty much anyone. It is another site I see myself using in my future career as an ESL teacher if I get the chance to work with lower level classrooms.

Justine Lavoie.

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