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Once upon a time: Exploring My Story Maker

Once upon a time, a zebra played the horn, and beautiful music came out of it.

Kids can tell animated stories about musically inclined zebras, dancing astronauts, animals, and more with CLP’s My Story Maker. Produced by collaboration with The Grable Foundation and Carnegie Mellon University’s Entertainment Technology Center, My Story Maker was named One of the Best Websites for Teaching and Learning by the American Association of School Librarians, a division of the American Library Association. On the Story Maker website, kids choose characters (ranging from humans with a variety of skin tones to animals and ghosts), settings (ranging from outer space to castle to lab) and props, dragging them onto a story board. These elements can be changed on the fly and from page to page.

Kids can also choose from lists of actions and emotions for their characters. As they make their choices, they will see simple sentences appear on the page. They can also add their own words. Sometimes they will be prompted: “Why is the scientist talking?” which is a great way to build storytelling skills as well as explore cause and effect and/or feelings.

The stories can be as short or long as they like, and when their stories are done they can be played back. They can also be printed or viewed again with a code, which is provided when the story begins. They can be logical–a way to teach and reinforce storytelling skills–or as silly as a mad lib.

So check it out–maybe a mermaid will play baseball.

Amy is a Children’s Librarian at CLP-Main.

Write your own story on My Story Maker!

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