How to Storybird

Last week I posted about my discovery of Storybird. (You can read more here.) Storybird has been around since 2010, so I was feeling a little late to the party… but it soon became apparent that I wasn’t the only late arrival. So… for those of you who’ve never flown the nest, here’s a little peek into the process of creating a poem in Storybird. (You can also write picture books and chapter books, without the word ‘tags’ but I love the immediacy of the poetry – and haven’t yet spread my wings much in the other areas. And besides, this is Poetry Friday. ūüėČ )

First, you choose a photo (1) as inspiration. There are so many illustrations to choose from, generously shared by incredibly talented artists. There are vibrant pieces with an abundance of colour, or simpler black and white illustrations Рor muted colours in between. (Something for every mood and preference!) For this example, I chose bright rain by thedreamygiraffe

Storybird Collage01 Sm

Once you’ve chosen the photo (1), and the poem format (2) you are given collection of word tags (3) that you can use in the crafting of your poem (4). Simply drag and drop them onto the picture, being sure that words don’t overlap, or overhang. The coloured dots down the bottom of the screen (3&4) enable you to change the word tag colours. Experiment with these to enhance the mood/visual effect.

Working with a limited selection of words means that sometimes you have to find a different, better way to say things. With limited punctuation marks Рand few capital letters Рword placement and alignment work to dictate pausing and flow. And that is a beautiful, freeing thing. (And a valuable skill of poetry!)

If you don’t like your collection of words – or change your mind about the image – you can click on the refresh icon (bottom right of screen 4) and choose to refresh words, or artwork. ¬†(Although there is a certain challenge in working with what you’ve got – and I’m not sure I’ll be quick to share this tip in the classroom, as this function has the potential to stall productivity.)

Once you have finalised your words, colour and placement, click on the Menu icon (bottom left of screen 4) to publish your poem.

Storybird Collage02 Sm

In a school setting, the Storybird experience enhances¬†English, The Arts, and Digital Technology curriculum. If you sign up as an educator, you can create classes for your students. (All you could ever need to know about class accounts is¬†here.)¬†Class accounts are not visible to the public, but still enable kids to interact, giving praise and ‘stickers’ for peers’ work.

I’ve blogged before about how writing poetry benefits all writing. Storybird Poems have so much potential across abilities, enabling those¬†who struggle with spelling, punctuation or handwriting (but often express a creative way with words), whilst also extending those who have a flair or passion for writing and design. Storybird poems also negate the oft heard complaints ‘I haven’t got any ideas!’ and ‘I don’t know what to write.’ because the words and inspiration are a gift. The process is freeing, and fun – and the finished product is simply stunning!

Storybird Final

If you want more control over the words of a poem, once you have selected your picture (as above), choose Picture Book. You are then given a blank box, where you can type your picture book poem. An added benefit with this option is that you can save your project (bottom left of screen), and come back to finish it at a later time. And you can add pages as required (bottom right of screen) to create a whole book of poetry – or a poem spread over a number of pages. (You might even like to write a rhyming picture book…)

Storybird Collage03 Sm

In the classroom, I see Storybird as a means of enthusing and inspiring students – lighting the creative fire that is so often extinguished by the demands of a dreary curriculum, or the fear of failure.¬†With the ability to create poetry, picture books and chapter books, the possibilities are endless… and the option to read and respond to others’ poems is also enriching. Extra¬†time on Storybird is also a fabulous way to reward¬†students for positive behaviour or effort in the classroom.

Perhaps you even need a little reward, yourself…? Because Storybird is not¬†just for kids and schools. And the more you play, the more you will discover!

PS  Having compiled my blog post, I now find THIS! More information than I could EVER give you!

Storybird Resources

Don’t forget to do the rounds and read more Poetry Friday posts. The full collection of links are being collated at¬†Writing the World for¬†Kids‚Ä®. And if you do test your wings on Storybird, please drop back here to leave your profile page link. I’d love to see¬†what you hatch!


  1. Thank you for generously sharing this amazing creativity-builder for students and teachers, alike, and, especially for showing a compelling finished product–the presentation/interplay of the visual and words draws the reader in, without a doubt. God bless you and thanks!


  2. I LOVE this, Kat! I saw something about Storybird maybe 6 months ago and checked it out, but didn’t immediately find a way in that appealed to me. But THIS…is amazing. Like magnetic poetry but with art. Thanks so much for sharing this. I am seeing how this could work in all sorts of settings.


  3. Wow, the resources are many! Thanks for sharing some of the ‘how-tos’, Kat. I will pass your post on to teacher friends. I also think I’ve seen a piece about Storybird that shares how to create a FB header, maybe for a blog too?


  4. Thanks for walking us through the process, Kat. Despite my not getting around to leaving many PF comments last week, I did visit your post and admire all your wonderful works of Storybird art! Yes, great for school, but great for a rainy day afternoon at home too. I think my daughter and I may need a Storybird afternoon together. ūüôā


    • Perfect for a rainy day afternoon at home, Michelle. My son has done a couple of poems on my Storybird (and it wasn’t even raining!), but after creating a class, I’ve signed both lads up there, too.


  5. So many creative opportunities for kids! I like your point about how this tool would be good for language learners — built in spelling takes that challenge off the plate. I’ll have to make a classroom account and turn my writers loose!


  6. Thanks for this how-to peek, Kat – I wasn’t familiar with Storybird but maybe my teacher-daughter is. I’ll bet this really appeals to a lot of students! “Unexpected joy” is always welcome. Thanks for sharing it!


  7. Pingback: Poetry Friday – How to Storybird | Read, ...

  8. Pingback: Storybird Snippets | Kathryn Apel

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