The Carnegie Library in Pittsburgh has a wonderful site for young children.  My favorite feature on their website is My StoryMaker.  This cute, easy to use application is web based, and lets students easily create stories online that they can then print and/or share online with others.

The interface is beautifully animated, and very easy to use.  There are very clear directions, and you can access the help function at any stage.  Most of the process involves dragging and dropping characters, objects, and scenery around, and the characters all have sub menus that allow you to change emotions, actions, and interactions with other characters.

As you choose your characters and change their emotions and actions, the story begins to write itself based on your selections.  You can edit the story given to you, or you can erase it and write your own text.  When you are done your story, you can choose if you want to share it with others on the Carnegie website or not.  If you do share it, you are given a magic number that you can use to access the story from the website so you can share it with friends and family.  Whether or not you choose to share it, you also have the option to print your story.  The story prints two pages per sheet and is easy to cut and assemble into a physical book.

This is a great site to entice children to write and share stories.  The pre-written text means that even very young children can create their own stories, while the ability to edit and write your own makes it appealing to more advanced students.  The only real downside to this program that I’ve seen is that you cannot save a story and then come back to edit or complete it later.  It must be finished in one sitting.  Even with that one caveat, it is still a wonderful, engaging program sure to encourage students to write!

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