Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Making Books With Your Children - A Way to Inspire the Love of Writing in Your Children

I love to write. And I'd like to try to pass at least some enjoyment of writing on to my children.

In an effort to do so, I try to find fun, creative activities to encourage writing. Fun, creative activities that will help them practice and improve their skills but aren't the dull stereotypical classroom writing assignments. That is one of the reasons we homeschool, after all.

Lily cannot write yet, nor can she read. However, she loves to draw story pictures and then dictate to me what she wants written on each page. Your child does not need to know how to write in order to write. Repeat that to yourself. And shall I put it another way: your child does not need to know how to spell, physically write letters/words, or use proper punctuation or grammar to be able to write a story.

I've always had my kids dictate to me. Ian now knows enough spelling and phonics rules that he is becoming more willing to sit down and write his stories by himself. I do not correct his spelling or grammar in his writings. All of that will come with due time. When he writes, I want him to feel free and safe to express himself without worry of criticism. There are plenty of years available in the future, when he's learned all the rules, that I can offer up constructive criticism. Now I just want to let him feel free to express himself through words.

So here is a fun little project we did today that just may inspire your kiddos to write a book or start keeping a journal as it did mine. Hand bound wallpaper-sample story books...

With Lily, I started with plain white computer paper, folded it in half and then cut it in half. I did it this way so that it would be easier for her to draw her pictures. Once she drew her pictures, she dictated the story to me, page by page. One helpful hint: make sure you leave a large enough margin on the left which is the side you will be binding.

After the dictation was complete, I put the pages in correct order, and she picked a piece of wallpaper from our wallpaper sample book (a book I had gotten for free; check your local paint store to see if they will either give you one or let you buy one that is now discontinued. They have awesome, multiple, creative uses!)

I wrapped the wallpaper around the book to make it like a paper cover (only this will be more durable than paper because it's vinyl). I then stitched along the left side of the book to bind it all together. One thing I learned is that it is absolutely necessary to use the larger zig-zag stitch. I used the running stitch the first time, and all it did was perforate the paper and make it easy to rip out (which, in this case, we do not want to happen.)

Ian just wanted blank pages so that he could have his own journal. So for his, I folded five sheets of computer paper in half (made ten pages total; anymore presented a problem because they were too thick for my sewing machine to go through) and covered it with the wallpaper he had chosen. Then I ran a zig-zag stitch up the left-hand side.

Voila. Instant book. And the kids were so excited to make their book special by being able to choose the cover and help construct the actual book.

Growing Home


Kathy said...

What an amazing idea!! I love it! Thanks for the photos...I need to see visuals.

Jami Leigh@Young Wife's Guide said...

How fun! What a great way to inspire your children to write :) I love the books!

Anonymous said...

Love this! Definitely something I will try. Thanks for sharing!