How to encourage students to plan & analyse stories using digital storyboarding tools

Screen Shot 2014-02-19 at 12.32.57 PM

Literacy pedagogy is no longer limited to “teaching and learning to read and write in page-bound, official, standard forms for the national language.”  Today, many terms such as “multimedia” and “digital storytelling” are commonly used to describe practices that transcend language.  Many educators are looking for visual learning tools to augment traditional literacy practices to enhance learning and foster creativity.

Research and classroom experience tells us that young children don’t devote much time to planning. This is due to many reasons but some don’t see the value in the pre-writing process while others simply get overly excited when an idea comes to mind.  Cameron and Moshenko (1996) found that 6th graders took merely 15sec – 387sec to plan for their writing.

To encourage students to think more about the beginnings, middles and ends, digital storyboarding could be useful to visually communicate ideas and concepts before writing a story. Online storyboard websites (such as allow students to plan their story and save their work easily with its user-friendly interface and image gallery.

[For the free version, the storyboard is limited to three panels, but what you could do is to take a screen shot of the different panels and combine them on a word document].

Here is a storyboard of a Pourquoi Tale that I modelled for students before I wrote my own story:


Create a Copy | View Larger

Since the storyboard can be done online with the help of clipart and inserted text, students can easily revise their ideas.  They can then either retrieve this on the iPad or print this out for quick reference while writing their draft.


Every year when I teach Charlotte’s Web, I usually teach summarising skills by having students re-tell a chapter in “beginning, middle and end”.  This is quite challenging for 3rd graders because they must identify and condense the important information from their reading without including every detail. This is where a visual learning tool comes in. Storyboard would be a great tool to use for visual learners who want an alternate way to do the beginning, middle, end. Here is an example of the entire story of Charlotte’s Web in 3 panels.  The students just took a screenshot rather than the hassle of saving the file and unzipping it.


Create a Copy |

In addition to summarising, you can also have students make predictions of a story using storyboard, or to plan a more elaborate role play / dialogue using storyboarding.

I believe this is a great tool because of its versatility, and user-friendly nature.  Students really enjoyed searching through the large selection of pictures, backgrounds and enhancing their storyboards with thought bubbles and dialogues.


Published by Ms Claudia L. Kimura

Apple Distinguished Educator, Class of 2015 Primary school teacher, technology coordinator Not just a regular mom, but a teacher-mom Mom of 2 boys, stepmom of 3 boys

2 thoughts on “How to encourage students to plan & analyse stories using digital storyboarding tools

  1. Thank you for your sharing. This tool is very useful and entertaining. I guess Chinese learners in primary schools will love it.

  2. Thank you for your recommendation. The tool is very interesting. It can enhance students’ learning interest.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s