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Story Central is an ELT scheme from Macmillan Education for primary school
students learning American-English. Over 6 levels they use resources like
Student Books, Readers and videos to learn about literacy and language,
critical thinking, communication, collaboration and above all, storytelling.
We were originally asked to work on the sample design stage for Macmillan
and were thrilled when they asked us to take on not only the layout of the
Student Books and Readers, and the design of their covers but also the
production of all their storytelling videos.
Commissioning illustrators, animators, video production crew, set designers
and other vital team members, we oversaw the development of all these key
Story Central resources.
Student Books and Readers
In each book, students are taught to examine stories to improve their reading,
grammar and language skills but also learn about creativity and the wider world.
The Readers are beautifully presented story books which accompany the Student
Books and encourage students to be active storytellers.
As the name suggests, stories are at the heart of all the Story Central resources and we made sure this was captured in the design and illustrations.
We worked with artist Steve Wood to develop the Story Central style, commissioning dozens of other illustrators to help with the fun, interactive design.
The scheme comprises 6 levels across 3 tiers – we represented each of these by a multi-level Hub artwork – a community learning environment within a library.
All of the Student Books draw on the Hub illustrations with quirky characters leading the students through the content in comic strip, threaded through each level and tier.
The Story Central scheme is a distinct way of learning through stories and the
covers reflect this uniqueness. We wanted to add value and encourage engagement
right from the moment students picked up the book, so we created unusual covers
with spot varnish and round cut outs (and got very excited about it!).
This means students can actually see into the
book, look at the illustrations and get an idea of
the wonderful world inside, before they even
open it. Everyone that we know who has seen
them is taken by their uniqueness, and they are
a good example of pushing the boundaries for
an educational scheme.
Leading an experienced crew, we produced, directed and edited 30 accompanying
videos for the Story Central scheme. Shot over 9 incredible days, we storyboarded
the content, built the sets, sourced the props, arranged the schedules, cast the actors,
directed the action, commissioned amazing animation and generally worked
tirelessly to produce 30 engaging, Jackanory-style story-based films.
The set was influenced by the Hub illustrations and the content of the Story Central books, so each video can be viewed as an accompaniment to the Student Books and Readers. However they also stand on their own, which means they can be watched by anyone who wants to enjoy
a good story, without the tie-in to the scheme.
More details at www.macmillanenglish.com/courses/story-central/