Kindergarten Authors: Empowering Voice Through Informational Ebooks

Planet Research (4)Ms. Kelly Hocking’s Kindergarten class has done it again.  They have once again ventured out to try something that no other class has tried and inspired other classes and projects with their work.  In small groups, they each chose a planet to research.  We used PebbleGo, TrueFlix, and books to search for facts in the library and in class.   Then, in the library and in class, students worked on sequencing their facts.

Planet Research (11) Planet Research (9)

Over the past week, Ms. Kelly checked out iPads each day for students to use to publish their work using Storykit.  I love how she encouraged them to take pictures of objects in the school and then use the drawing feature in Storykit to enhance those pictures.

Take a look at their finished products below.  If you click on each picture, it will take you to the student book.  If you have comments for our students, please leave them here on the blog and I will be sure to pass them along to our authors.  If you would like to learn more about Storykit, I’m sure these Kindergarten experts would be willing to Skype or Google Hangout with your students to share their expertise.


Mercury by Dominik, James, and Jakaris



Uranus by Olivia and Lizzie



Jupiter by Ben and Tia


Mars by Macie and Taeden


Venus by Blessing and Janie


Saturn by Bryah, Yehun, and Charlie



Neptune by Eni and Talia



Earth by Jayden, Miracle, and Wendy


The Sun

The Sun by Scarlett, Casper, and Sammy

Empowering Student Voice Through Individual Projects: A Kindergarten Research Project


My library uses a flexible schedule.  This means that I don’t see classes at a set time every week.  Instead, I collaborate with teachers and schedule lessons and projects as they fit into the curriculum each week.  This flexibility allows me to work with more than just homeroom classes to include classes like art and music, gifted, special education, and extended learning time groups.  It also allows me to work with small groups of students or even individuals.

Over the past couple of weeks, I have been working with Mick, a Kindergarten student.  He is an avid reader and is very curious about so many things.  Mick discovers a topic and wants to know all there is to know about it.  Our recent exploration has been around seahorses, which was sparked by a book that he read in his class.

Over several sessions, Mick came to the library for research.  We developed questions together on a Google doc.  He did all of the talking, and I did the typing.

Seahorse doc

Once we had a good list of questions, we started exploring PebbleGo, a Capstone Interactive ebook on seahorses, and Encyclopedia Britannica in our Galileo database.  We listened to the read aloud feature or I read the text aloud if it was too difficult for him to read on his own.  We paused often to see if any facts had answered our questions.  If Mick pulled out a fact, we put it into his own words and I added it to the doc.

After each session, I printed our notes for him to take back to class in case he did more research on his own or at home.  Once Mick felt like he had enough facts, I asked him what he wanted to do with his information.

He really wanted to “make a book using the computer”.  There are several tools we could use to do this, but we decided to use an iPad and the Storykit app.  This app lets you create multiple pages, type text, record audio, draw, take pictures, and import pictures.  I’ve seen other Kindergarten students use it, so I felt like it was the right tool for the job.

Mick’s first steps were to find some creative commons pictures of seahorses.  He used the camera on the iPad to take pictures of the pictures and put one picture on each page.

During another session, we went through Mick’s facts and selected an order for the information.  He read the facts he wanted, and I typed them onto the iPad.  I originally had him typing, but it was taking longer than we had time for.

In our final session, Mick recorded his voice reading each page.

The Storykit app lets you upload the book to the Storykit server and then you get a link to the work to share.

I invite you to take a look and a listen to Mick’s informational story on Seahorses.  I love it when student’s voices are empowered through projects in the library.  If you have comments for Mick, please leave them in the comments.

Mick's Seahorses (1)

Kindergarten Authors, Illustrators, and Storytellers using the StoryKit App

ICDL   International Children s Digital Library

Ms. Hocking is a Kindergarten teacher at our school who is always discovering new tools that she wants to try with her students.  She recently showed me the StoryKit app for iPhone.  This app uses some of the texts from the International Digital Children’s Library .  Readers can read the books as they are, but they can also edit them.

Ms. Hocking’s class has been reading multiple versions of the same folktales and stories this year, so this type of app was a great fit to extend their curiosities and noticings in reading into something that they could create.

storykit (1) storykit (4)

In class, she continued to have students read multiple versions of the same type of story such as The Gingerbread Boy and The Three Little Pigs.  In the library, students came for a whole hour of tinkering with the app.  Students started on the carpet, and I projected an iPad onto the screen.  I showed them the app and we started exploring the tools and menus together.  Then, students used an iPad to explore on their own.

storykit (3)

Through our modeling and tinkering, students discovered:

  • how to take a picture and add it to the story
  • how to draw on illustrations
  • how to delete text
  • how to add their own text
  • how to resize images inserted into the story
  • how to delete pages
  • how to find and add images already on the iPad camera roll

This tinkering was very important because it allowed students to figure out the workings of the app before they had to produce something.  In class, Ms. Hocking had them select one of the stories from the app and work in a collaborative group to brainstorm changes to the story.  These changes were written by Ms. Hocking or Ms. Rockholt, the parapro, onto a notecard.  Students also went in and deleted all of the text from the story in their classroom.

In the library, the groups came back for a work session.  Each adult worked with 2 groups.  Students took turns modifying the images in the story to match their plans for the story.  Then, some students wrote out new text for the story while other groups told their text to the adult in the group.  We tried to put as much control and creation into the hands of the students.

Back in class, Ms. Hocking is looking over their stories and they will continue to work before finalizing and sharing their work.

I loved seeing what Kindergartners could create.  I also loved the tinkering and creativity built into this project.