2019 marks StoryWeaver‘s 4th year.
Join me in wishing the whole team a HAPPY BIRTHDAY!
If you’ve been following EliPuli, you’ll know the name StoryWeaver comes up very often as I use it liberally. It’s just one of the best platforms out there and I thought to share with you WHY. Regardless of whether you’re a parent, teacher, volunteer, child, author, illustrator or storyteller, StoryWeaver has something for you!
Okay, this is the most obvious – brilliantly made FREE resources for your classrooms. Be it stories or flashcards or individual illustrations, your children are going to be mesmerised by the illustrations, many of which have been drawn by experienced, highly celebrated artists. If a story isn’t yet available in your language or you feel the language level is too high/low, you also have the freedom to put in your own text and create a variation that suits your specific needs. Project it on a screen or print a hard copy. You’re good to go! Put together the images of a story without the text and have your students write the story. Or make them fill in the blanks! You can also use the images as prompts for oral practice. Decorate your classrooms, use them as part of craft sessions! You could also do the reverse, give your kids the text and ask them to draw pictures to complete the story. Make up little games! Some stories even have instructions on how you could make them into a play!
Read to your kids, anywhere, ANYWHERE. The platform has almost 16,000 stories (let’s see you say you don’t have anything suitable to read now, huh?) that are accessible on any electronic device. The site is web-based, so you don’t run into issues of compatibility. There are also read-along books available to engage children who have started reading on their own. If you’re a bilingual or multilingual family, HURRAY! The majority of the stories come in multiple languages, so you can use that to develop your prowess of the tongue too. Read a story in English and then discuss it or re-write in your mother tongue (and vice versa). Print the images to make flashcards or make postcards for special occasions. Dress up your reading and play spaces with attractive pictures. If you’re finding it hard to inspire your kids to try new things or indulge in complex conversations about the world around them, then stories are the way to go. I had no idea how to get my 4 year old interested in space or talk to him about the solar system until we discovered a story. Now there’s no turning back! Want them to try upma? Want to discuss black holes? Want to discuss role-reversal? Want to discover new animals? Want to interest them in mystery? Want to discuss anger management? (Click on the text to check out stories in those topics!) Stories help pave the way for new discussions.
As a new author, I’ve found StoryWeaver to be a fantastic platform to get my writing out there and get a sense of what’s working and what I can improve on. If you’re especially aiming to get your story into the hands of children all around the world, then this is a great way to do that without worrying about the other practical concerns that revolve around paid print. You could hire an illustrator or collaborate with one to make illustrations specific to your story. But you can also get creative with the existing repository of images (20,000+) and create stories for free! Hash illustrations together to make a unique, original story. Or try what I did – write a collection of nursery rhymes using the images! Take it as a writing challenge, use the images as prompts, or rewrite an existing story in your own voice. Whichever path you choose, StoryWeaver can aid you in your journey towards improving your writing while still providing you with a legitimate audience. Oh and of course – if you look for stories published by Pratham Books, you can be sure their stories have been written by talented authors, supported by a professional editorial team and are worth learning from. To write, you have to keep reading!
Really, the greatest highlight of the platform – is the illustrations! Gosh, so many gorgeous creations. THANK YOU, ARTISTS! StoryWeaver is a fantastic platform for publishers and clients to discover a talent they’d like to work with for their projects. Being able to see your style through a full story helps in judging consistency, and ability too. And if you have the heart to put your art out on creative commons, you get brownie points for your generosity! You’ll be delighting children in the way they learn best, visually! With more than 20,000 images, it’s also a great way to get over an artist block. Need to draw something but feel stuck? Browse through the portal and you’re bound to get inspiration. Or use another artist’s image and recreate it in your own style!
Volunteers are always squeezed for funds. You’ll find that StoryWeaver will be an absolute boon, bestowing you with high quality resources that you can use with your kids at no cost. We live in a digital age where people change their tech so frequently, you’ll find it’s easier to get hold of an old laptop or tablet than physical educational material. So pair your tech with StoryWeaver and open a whole new world of imagination for your kids. StoryWeaver has a huge selection of texts based on STEAM topics – very helpful if you have kids struggling to keep up in those areas in school. Nothing like a good story to make a boring, difficult concept become fun!
I met a bunch of amazing storytellers over the weekend at the Asian Festival of Children’s Content and it struck me that StoryWeaver would be an ideal platform for them to tap on. Because – an endless supply of stories! Also, crediting is easy, there is less work in terms of gaining permission to use the text. And if they enjoy using images as part of their sessions, then they have the flexibility to do that, with high quality illustrations at that. Imagine not having to physically hold the book in your hand as you present the story. While the story is projected on a screen, you gain a full range of movement and can focus on engaging with your young audience instead. (There are some super nifty pocket-sized inexpensive projectors being made!) Or you’d be able to print it out in a bigger size without losing quality too. Kids love big books!
So if you’re wondering if this magical unicorn has a catch, there’s just one important thing to understand – licensing. All the content on StoryWeaver is licensed under the Creative Commons. What this means is that you’re free to use it in any creative way you can conceive, as long as you credit the original creators. Simple, isn’t it? It gets even simpler. Downloading a file from the site comes WITH the attribution text. All you have to do is copy and paste it into whatever you’re using for (scroll all the way to the bottom). EASYPEASY LEMON SQUEEZY!
So go forth and spread the word. There’s a new friend ready to have your back every step of the way. Give your hugs to StoryWeaver!
P.s – StoryWeaver is successful because of the tireless team of professionals who work behind the scenes. Kudos to each one of them for what they do to extend the platform’s vision of ensuring every child has access to stories. You guys are amazing!
The images above have been published under a CC BY 4.0 license on StoryWeaver. Read, create and translate stories for free on www.storyweaver.org.in:
- People, animals and birds flying away in the wind by Lavanya Karthik, for Hatchu! Ha-aaa-tchu! written by Sharada Kolluru, published by Pratham Books (©Pratham Books, 2015)
- Pig talking to the Camel by Parvati Pillai, for The Pig With The Runaway Tail written by Parinita Shetty, published by Pratham Books (©Pratham Books, 2019)
- Earthworms in the soil by Sayan Mukherjee, for Catch a Ride on Raindrops written by Anjali Vaidya, supported by Oracle, published by Pratham Books (©Pratham Books, 2019)
- Children displaying various emotions by Nirzara Verulkar, for Maths at the Mela written by Kavitha Mandana, supported by CISCO, published by Pratham Books (©Pratham Books, 2018)
- Children tentatively entering a dark shop by Lavanya Naidu, for Who is Afraid of the Rakshas Sweetie-Man? written by Ranjit Lal, published by Pratham Books (©Pratham Books, 2017)
- Mother giving food to daughter by Debasmita Dasgupta, for The Weightlifting Princess written by Sowmya Rajendran, published by Pratham Books (©Pratham Books, 2018)
- Animals their tongues out by Sandhya Prabhat, for Stick Your Tongue Out! written by Praba Ram, Sheela Preuitt, supported by Oracle, published by Pratham Books (©Pratham Books, 2018)
- Orangutan looking for water by Vibha Suryanarayanan (©Vibha Suryanarayanan, 2019), for Meng Was Thirsty written by Abhi Krish
- Monster kidnapping sleepy sun by Abhishikta Dutta (©Abhishikta Dutta, 2019), for Mongal Stole Pongal written by Abhi Krish
- An old woman picking coconuts with her grandson by Rajiv Eipe, for Ammachi’s Amazing Machines written by Rajiv Eipe, supported by Oracle, published by Pratham Books (©Pratham Books, 2017)