Colourful stories

6th January 2006 at 00:00
Tim Rylands welcomes a piece of software that makes it easy for young children to tell tales through words, pictures, animation and sounds

2Create A Story is another elegantly simple program from 2Simple Software.

It's aimed at children in reception and up to Year 2, and never before have I seen this age group so eager to write and share their stories.

Children as young as four are able to create multimedia stories in an unbelievably simple way. They draw a picture, compose text, add in one of 13 animation effects and select from a choice of sounds to bring any and every page to life - all within one screen.

It's truly a creative application. Sounds can be composed straight into 2Create A Story with an on-screen piano keyboard, so you easily create musical effects and generate atmosphere. Children can even record their voice from a microphone.

Within seconds they can draw a car with the on-screen felt-tip pens, select the traffic sound, choose a direction for the car to travel and write their text at the bottom of the page. When they press Play, the page comes alive.

To personalise a story, you can import photos, animated images (GIFs) and music. To show off your creations, the stories can be printed and then folded into books.

If you are seeking a larger audience, 2Create A Story files can be saved as SWF Flash files so that completed masterpieces can easily be put on school websites or portals for sharing.

The video tutorials that come with the CD are ideal for both teacher and learner. They offer ideas and example stories made with the program. There are others at

2Create a Story can also be a dynamic teaching resource. I was amazed at the fun that can be had from the animation effects. In science, a magnet and a paperclip can be made to move towards one another with a click of a button. This makes it a valuable tool across many subject areas.

The program will appeal to language teachers as an ideal way to encourage reluctant writers. Special needs teachers will be drawn to the intuitive, open-ended simplicity of the software.

The facility to record your own narrative with a microphone will appeal to all teachers, especially those of EAL children, as it will give them an ideal opportunity to express themselves verbally. It can also help children to organise their thoughts and play back their narrative to aid their writing and give them a sense of audience.

2Create A Story's instant appeal and strong learning benefits suggest there is likely to be a high demand for it both at schools and home. I recommend exploring this program with your pupils; once you try it, you just won't want to let it go.

2Create a story

Story-telling software that handles text, images, sound and animations.

Contact 2Simple to order or get your 30-day approval at your school Prices: pound;39 for a single-user licence, pound;199 for a site licence.

pound;20 for a home licence.

Fitness for purpose ***** Ease of use ***** Features **** Quality **** Value for money *****

2Simple Software Stand C54 Tel: 020 8203 1781.

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