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Friday, October 12, 2012

Using Digital Scrapbooks to Turn Kids Into Authors

I remember how much I loved creating my own story books as a kid. But they were never very fancy; usually they were just some pieces of plain white paper, or maybe some colored construction paper, stapled together. And not that there's anything wrong with that; it's great. But I have been amazed lately by how easy it is these days to help your child create a beautiful storybook, that looks and feels like it was actually published!

My son loves creating his own books. I stuffed his Easter basket this past year with some blank books for him to create in. He filled those quickly. So when he was asking the other week to create another book and asking if I would buy him more blank books, I had an idea. I suggested he create a story with his Legos, that I would take photos to use as illustrations, and that we could use the computer to compile them into a book that he could write the words for.

He loved the idea, and went straight to work coming up with his Lego story. I figured he would need some help and prompting with arranging his Legos for the photos, but he didn't want or need help with that. He readily created a story, arranging and dictating continually as we plugged away at it. It was so fun to witness, I was really proud of him and his storytelling!

Sitting down at the computer with him to lay it out in a photo book was entertaining. He again needed no help coming up with what words he wanted to pair with each illustration. He came up with hysterical character names. (One character was named "Donkey Rash." I have no idea where he came up with that one.) And the dialogue between all those characters was adorable!

The completed book came in the mail this past week and he is so proud of it! He has me read it to him every day (his brother is getting really sick of it.). He can't get enough of hearing his story told over and over again!

My son loves when we talk about how he's the author and illustrator of this awesome book! He almost can't believe it! Unfortunately, this particular photo book we made didn't allow us to put his name (or even a photo) on the cover. In fact, I wasn't pleased with the website we used in general; I really struggled to figure out how to lay out the book the way I wanted, and was never quite satisfied with it. Then when it arrived in the mail, there were even more errors in it. But my son doesn't notice those things. He just loves it.

So if you're looking for something fun to do with your kiddos, here's a great activity to try. Plus, it encourages literacy! Plus, it makes for a great keepsake for you as a parent!

Let your child come up with creative ideas for making their illustrations. They could use photos of toys, people (themselves/their friends and family), artwork they create... Lots of possibilities!

Have you ever made a book like this with your kids? How did it turn out? What kind of process did they use to make it? Or have you used another method for helping your child create their own book? I would love to hear about it in the comments!!

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