Thursday, September 2, 2010

Homemade Summer Picture Book

I love this idea in theory... although today it was an epic fail! We are going to keep at it though... because I think on a different day it would've worked great.

Goal: Create a homemade picture book with favorite photos from the summer and transcribed sentences based on your child's descriptions of the pictures.

Materials Needed: view binder (has a pocket in front for a cover page), page protectors, colored cardstock, favorite photos from the summer, scissors, glue, markers, and crayons.

1. Look through your photos of the summer and review some of your favorite moments- vacation trips, family visits, activities with friends, etc. We did this sitting together on the couch while looking through my iPhoto collection of photos from the summer. This was one of our favorite parts because we had fun looking at the pictures, they brought back great memories, and this activity allowed for a lot of spontaneous conversation.

2. Print off your favorite photos (not necessarily your favorites... but the ones that your child enjoys the most and has the most to say about).

3. Choose one picture to start with and glue it onto a piece of colored cardstock.

4. Have your child tell you about the picture. Ask WH questions about the picture- What are you doing? Who are you with? What do you see? etc.

5. Write down any sentences your child says about the picture... below the picture. You could easily type this if you want it to be neater, but I love the process of handwriting things out and having the child watch me physically put their ideas down onto paper. With younger kids, work on sentence construction. If they tell you simple phrases or just words about the picture, repeat/clarify what they said and then restate it in a longer sentence. Then see if they'll repeat the longer sentence (now, "their" sentence). Write down "their" sentence below the picture and read it aloud to them. Encourage them to try and "read" what they wrote as well.

6. Once a page is done, stick it inside a sheet protector and put it inside a binder designated for their summer picture book.

7. Have them create a cover page to slip into the view front part of the binder.

8. Continue creating pages for as long as your child's attention holds. Older kids can write their own sentences. Younger kids can also decorate the story book pages with markers, crayons, stickers, etc.

Although there are so many digital quick ways to make picture photo books like these, I think kids really enjoy participating in the project. In the last photo of this post there is a picture of a bucket from a pool we went to this summer. My son wanted me to read this page of his book over and over and over again to him today. Pretty soon I think he'll be reading it to me. I am excited to write about the rest of our pictures and add them to our book.

Things to think about as you do this project:

- I wrote this book in the first person so that when my son learns to read it, it will sound like it is coming from his perspective. This is similar to how I write social stories for kids with autism. This can be confusing to a child though if the adult is reading and keeps saying "I." My son kept saying, "No, you weren't riding the horse..." So you might have to change the words a bit when you are reading it aloud.

- Pictures can trigger emotions, memories, etc. that are good and bad. The main reason this project was an epic fail at our house today was because some of the pictures reminded my overtired son of fun activities... and then he wanted to do those activities right now, or see those family members that he missed right now... so that didn't work so well. On a typical day, it probably would've been fine... but with an overtired toddler, this activity made everyone grumpy towards the end and we cut it short! We'll try again tomorrow.

I love how perfect this project is for fostering conversation, building vocabulary, reviewing previously learned words, names, places, etc. I also love how it operates as a great tool for practicing "wh" questions and sentence building. Our version of this picture book isn't my neatest creation ever, but the book functions really well and has already been read tons of times (with the three pages we have in it so far)!

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