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Li’l Stories is a literacy framework for 1st - 3rd graders that helps them create, collaborate and express themselves through stories.
Li’l Stories is a literacy framework for 1st - 3rd graders that helps them create, collaborate and express themselves through stories.
140 backers pledged $6,435 to help bring this project to life.

About this project

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$6,435

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Every night when it’s time for bed, my daughter Luna can’t wait to hear a bedtime story. She loves stories and can’t get enough of them. I’ve noticed that she and her friends use these stories to make sense of the world, to figure out how things relate and why people do what they do. (Coming up with them has helped me with my own creativity.)

This got me thinking: What if we could transfer this excitement for stories to learning in the classroom? Can we teach through stories? I believe the answer is YES!

Stories have amazing power: They grab hold of children's imaginations and help them start putting together words and images. When children create stories around content they’ve learned in class or at home, they are naturally strengthening and building upon what they have learned. They are making the concepts and ideas their own.

The idea that stories help reinforce learning is the basis of Li’l Stories, a literacy framework for the modern classroom or home. The project teaches first through third graders to express themselves through visual, spoken and written storytelling. Structured as a classroom activity, Li’l Stories guides students through the collaborative process of creating and sharing a narrative. And it does this visually, utilizing kids’ love for drawing and curiosity about images.

The system successfully teaches English Language Arts and fosters communication, creative thinking, problem-solving and self-expression––all skills that today’s young learners need to succeed.

I developed Li'l Stories closely with teachers and students at P.S. 3, a public elementary school in New York City, and at the Children’s Museum of Art. When seeing how engaged and how much fun students have when using Li’l Stories and hearing feedback from teachers, I knew I had to try to get it into schools. Thus the launch of a Give One, Get One Kickstarter:

Your support will help us produce Li’l Stories as a teaching tool that is available to educators to use in the classroom. I’m committing to donate one Li’l Stories story pad for each backer story pad I send out (see more details on this in the Give One, Get One section further below.)

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HOW IT WORKS

Li’l Stories guides students through two fun activities: first they create a story, and then they share it.

1. Creating Stories: Using Li’l Stories storyboards, children define their story elements, or inputs, then create the story individually or in groups. They do this through drawing and writing. Artists, designers and filmmakers often use storyboarding as a framework that provides structure for linear storytelling. Similarly, the act of storyboarding helps students structure their narratives and organize their thinking.

2. Sharing Stories: After creating their stories, children share them in a classroom or informal setting at home. This shows them how to articulate and communicate their ideas. They practice public speaking, getting feedback and responding to it.

Teachers (and parents at home) can combine these activities in different ways. Children can create stories and share them, or they can turn their visual stories into written narratives as part of a longer activity, or develop them further into plays, puppet shows or films.

Whether you’re a teacher or a parent, Li’l Stories helps you reach different types of learners and teach story structure and elements in a fun and engaging way.

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STORYBOARDING WITH THE LI'L STORIES STORY PAD

Each Li’l Stories story pad provides you with 50 sheets of the Li’l Stories storyboard, consisting of:

3 input boxes: Content covered in your class can be used to inspire characters, settings and plots of stories created by students. You can define them or let the students come up with their own.

9 story boxes: Students can retell stories they’ve read or heard in class, or create new stories around specific topics or story structures like historical narratives, pourquoi tales or fairy tales. Working with story elements and structure helps teach sequencing.

2 disruption boxes: As an option, you can use the “disruption” fields to have students add characters or change the settings of their stories. These can be defined by you or chosen by the students. It’s a great way for them to learn about story elements.

The pad is quite large—17.4”w x 14.5”—giving children ample room to draw and write comfortably.

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RESOURCE KIT

Rewards at the $75 level and up will include a resource kit. The Li’l Stories resource kit consists of 2” x 2” Post-its, pens and stickers. We found Post-its are a perfect way for kids to edit their stories and move the “story boxes” around. We also created a series of custom stickers that are great for children who don’t like to draw or don’t know how to visualize something yet. Our stickers feature characters and settings illustrated by Richard Baker. Four of the twelve stickers can be picked by you ($200 reward).

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ABOUT ME

Hi, I’m Anke. I’m a designer and the founder of Li’l Robin, a strategic design consultancy based in New York. I’m also a parent, and my daughter Luna and her love for stories have been a huge inspiration for Li’l Stories. I developed the framework as part of my thesis project in the MFA Interaction Design program at the School of Visual Arts (SVA).

For the past year, I’ve worked closely with several teachers and classes at P.S. 3, a public elementary school in New York City, and the Children’s Museum of Art to develop and refine Li’l Stories. The framework was effectively created in the classroom, with the active, enthusiastic and invaluable participation of the people who will actually be using it: young students and their teachers. (My daughter Luna and her friends were also happy test subjects.)

The challenge of the project was translating something spontaneously creative like storytelling into an organized activity that any child could participate in, learn from, and enjoy. I tested various prototypes to determine how best to structure collaboration among young students, who are easily—and understandably—excited about being able to do something together.

Throughout the process, the Li’l Stories visual storyboarding techniques were proven very effective in helping children express themselves through visual, spoken and written storytelling and in developing skills in English, Grammar and Language Arts. Once the format was refined, the teachers found Li’l Stories to be extremely useful, and the students loved it, too. 

“My students loved creating stories, drawing and telling them. They were engaged and didn’t even realize they were learning.” —Kelly, 1st grade teacher

“It helps them find their voice. They are working on how stories are put together. It helps them organize their thinking.” —Magnus, 2nd and 3rd grade teacher

“I can really relate to this process of storytelling because I am so visual! I would have had a better experience in class when I was young if I had this opportunity.” —Anna, parent of a 3rd grader

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GIVE ONE, GET ONE

My goal is to make Li’l Stories accessible to teachers and schools so many students can benefit from the framework. But public schools don’t have a lot of money. That’s why I’m committing to donate one Li’l Stories story pad for each backer story pad I send out. I can’t do this alone, but together we can: Please consider becoming a backer, spread the word, or connect me to interested elementary school teachers—any help is appreciated! Let’s have our kids learn through stories and make learning fun for them!

Some of the reward options allow you to give story pads to schools; others give you the opportunity to receive a story pad yourself in addition to giving one or more to a school.

P.S. 3 in New York is interested in using Li’l Stories in their first through third grade classes during the 2015-16 school year. P.S. 3 and other NYC schools I’m in talks with will be the default school option. But I’d love your suggestions as well. If you would like your story pad to go to another school or teacher, let me know in the comment section and I’ll reach out to them. (Please include the school name, teacher name, and email and postal addresses.)

Later this year, our website lilstories.com will have tips and suggestions on how to use Li’l Stories in the classroom and at home, as well as other free resources. I’ll update and add more resources throughout the year as I learn more from my continued work with P.S. 3 and other NYC schools.

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PRINTING

I plan to print 200 story pads with a 9-box storyboard layout. This storyboard is perfect for first through third graders. The print run of 200 is small and the reason why the story pads are relatively expensive. In printing, the cost per item goes down as the quantity goes up. So the more money we can raise together, the more story pads we can donate to schools.

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TIMELINE

September 30-October 21: Kickstarter campaign

October 21-November 4: Kickstarter-mandated fund collection and distribution period (if successfully funded)

November 4-December 30: Design and printing

Janauary 4-January 22, 2016: Shipping of story pads

February-April, 2016: Individual consultation sessions, Kids storytelling workshops, Teacher workshops, 5-class elementary school programs—scheduled with individual backers

I’ll keep you updated throughout the process, so you always know where things stand and when exactly to expect your Li’l Stories story pad.

Thank you for your support, 

Anke

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MEDIA

For more information, contact info, and hi-res images, please click here:
http://lilstories.com/2015/09/29/media-information/

Risks and challenges

While I have created, developed and launched many projects for clients and myself, things can happen:

THE PROJECT IS DELAYED! A delay in production sometimes happens, but I’m prepared to do everything in my power to stay on schedule. I’ve never missed a deadline and successfully shipped my first Kickstarter project, the Li’l Stories cards, to backers on time.

ANYTHING CAN HAPPEN WITH PRINTING, but I have a lot of experience with getting books and other projects printed. I’ll keep you updated throughout the process, so you always know where things stand.

YOUR PACKAGE DIDN'T ARRIVE! USPS is not the most reliable, and the notepad packages will be large. But USPS is the most inexpensive shipping option. If you don’t receive your package two weeks after receiving a shipping confirmation, email me and I’ll send a replacement.

DON'T HAVE AN ELEMENTARY SCHOOL CLASSROOM IN MIND? No worries. P.S. 3 in NYC is interested in using Li’l Stories in their 1st through 3rd grade classrooms. P.S. 3 will be the default school option.

NOT SURE IF A TEACHER OR SCHOOL IS INTERESTED IN USING LI'L STORIES? We’d love to get Li’l Stories into as many classrooms as possible and would be happy to reach out to them on your behalf. Please use the comment section to provide us with the teacher’s contact information.

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  1. Select this reward

    Pledge $5 or more About $5

    BIG THANK YOU!
    As a friend of the project, we’ll keep you updated on our progress and include you in our list of donors on the lilstories.com site.

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    Pledge $15 or more About $15

    PRINT YOUR OWN LI'L STORIES
    A print-yourself PDF with a Li’l Stories storyboard and instructions. Print it at home on a sheet of 11” x 17” paper and you and your children can create stories together.
    As a friend of the project, we’ll keep you updated on our progress and include you in our list of donors on the lilstories.com site.

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    Pledge $25 or more About $25

    SUPPORTER
    ONE (1) story pad for P.S. 3 or an elementary school classroom of your choice and a print-yourself PDF with a Li’l Stories storyboard and instructions for you. Print it at home on a sheet of 11” x 17” paper and you and your children can create stories together.
    As a supporter of the project, we’ll keep you updated on our progress and thank you on the lilstories.com site.

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    Pledge $50 or more About $50

    PATRON
    ONE (1) story pad for your own use and ONE (1) for P.S. 3 or an elementary school classroom of your choice.
    As a patron of the project, we’ll keep you updated on our progress and thank you on the lilstories.com site.

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    Pledge $75 or more About $75

    SUSTAINING PATRON
    ONE (1) story pad and resource kit (Post-its, pens, stickers) for your own use and ONE (1) story pad for P.S. 3 or an elementary school classroom of your choice.
    As a sustaining patron of the project, we’ll keep you updated on our progress and thank you on the lilstories.com site.

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    Pledge $140 or more About $140

    MAJOR PATRON
    TWO (2) story pads and resource kits (Post-its, pens, stickers) for your own use and TWO (2) story pads for P.S. 3 or an elementary school classroom of your choice.
    As a major patron of the project, we’ll keep you updated on our progress and thank you on the lilstories.com site.

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    Pledge $200 or more About $200

    BENEFACTOR
    Choose your own character or setting! Help us determine one sticker of the 12 stickers included in the resource kit––this could be a character and setting based on your child’s favorite story, your pets, or other personal inspiration. All stickers are drawn by Richard Baker. You also get ONE (1) story pad and resource kit (Post-its, pens, stickers) for your own use and ONE (1) story pad for P.S. 3 or an elementary school classroom of your choice.
    As a benefactor of the project, we’ll keep you updated on our progress and thank you on the lilstories.com site.

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    Reward no longer available 4 backers
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    Pledge $300 or more About $300

    SUSTAINING BENEFACTOR
    The teachers become the students! We’ll provide a 45-minute consultation in person at Orbital (NYC) or via Skype for you or the teacher you are giving the story pad to. You get ONE (1) story pad and resource kit (Post-its, pens, stickers) for your own use and ONE (1) story pad for P.S. 3 or an elementary school classroom of your choice.
    As a sustaining benefactor of the project, we’ll keep you updated on our progress and thank you on the lilstories.com site.

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    Pledge $600 or more About $600

    MAJOR BENEFACTOR
    Story time! Receive a 2-hour storytelling workshop for 4-6 kids at Orbital (NYC), a story pad and resource kit for each participating child, and FIVE (5) story pads for P.S. 3 or an elementary school classroom of your choice. In the workshop, kids create their own stories based on their favorite characters from books and movies (e.g. Harry Potter or Jack and Annie from The Magic Tree House series). If it’s a birthday party, kids can create stories about the birthday girl or boy.
    As a major benefactor of the project, we’ll keep you updated on our progress and thank you on the lilstories.com site.

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    Pledge $1,500 or more About $1,500

    PHILANTHROPIST
    A welcome plot twist! Enjoy a 2-hour storytelling workshop for 6-10 teachers for P.S. 3 or an elementary school of your choice in NYC, showing them how to use Li’l Stories and how to integrate it into their classrooms. Participating teachers will receive a story pad and resource kit for their classrooms. You’ll also get ONE (1) story pad with resource kit for your own use.
    And as a philanthropist of the project, we’ll keep you updated on our progress and thank you on the lilstories.com site.

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    Pledge $2,500 or more About $2,500

    MAJOR PHILANTHROPIST
    You’re the hero of our story! Receive a 5-class program for a class at P.S. 3 or an elementary school of your choice in NYC. This can be one class a day for five days, or one class a week for five weeks. In collaboration with the teacher, we’ll create a 5-class storytelling unit around a topic discussed in class: American Indian creation stories, a recent trip the class took, or anything else you’d like to teach, or storytelling in general. All class materials are included, and you’ll get ONE (1) story pad with resource kit for your own use.
    And as a major philanthropist of the project, we’ll keep you updated on our progress and thank you on the lilstories.com site.

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Funding period

- (21 days)