In this special blog post, Reading Eggs content writer and author Sara Leman shares the wonderful benefits of creating home-made books with children to build essential literacy skills and create some incredible lifelong memories.
There’s been a frenzy of paper folding and stapling going on in my house recently. Home-made books are appearing fast and furiously as my 8-year-old daughter embarks upon creating yet more ‘novels’.
Hannah has been making her own books since she was about 5. It coincided with starting school, and the realisation that those random marks she used to make on paper could actually be turned into words. She quickly worked out that if you string enough of these words together across several pages, you end up with your very own book. Her first creation was Ruby the Magic Bear. It was greeted with such rapturous acclaim from the grown-ups that as a result, Hannah has been writing books with great fervour ever since.
Encouraging your child to make their own books has many benefits, both educationally and emotionally. Some of these benefits include:
Better self-esteem. Children absolutely love it when you sit together and read their stories. As well as building a bond between parent and child, sharing stories validates the child as an author and makes them feel proud over their achievements.
Building resilience. Writing stories allows children to find a voice to express thoughts, feelings, fears and experiences. It builds confidence and provides an emotional outlet for many children.
Increased concentration span. When a child is engaged in a task they enjoy, it leads to higher levels of motivation and an increased concentration span. As a parent, you can feel good about the fact your child is also developing their thinking and creative skills whilst they create their masterpiece.
The development of writing skills. Writing a book requires a lot of skill, including holding the pencil correctly, forming the letters, spacing the words, and writing in lines from left to right.
The development of reading skills. In writing their own books, children draw upon the usual book conventions such as having a front cover, text and illustration placement, numbering pages, writing chapter headings and even having a ‘blurb’ on the back of the book. When older children read their stories aloud it encourages them to proofread their work and edit where necessary.
Here are some tips on how can you help your child create their very own book:
- Use other books as models. Show your child how they are organised and point out key features.
- If your child doesn’t know what to write about, get them thinking about their own experiences or interests. Looking at family photos can often generate ideas, and rewriting a well-known story is also an excellent start. The Reading Eggs Story Factory encourages children to use picture cues in order to create their own story. Their finished book can be printed out, submitted to the weekly competition and potentially read by thousands of other children.
- Very young children may struggle to write, so get them to tell you their story whilst you write it for them.
- Provide a variety of paper and pens for children to make their books from. Let them experiment with colour, text and illustration styles.
- You may be required to fold and staple pages together for young children. There are lots of other great ideas for more creative book making on the Internet.
- Don’t be tempted to correct anything your child has written. This is an opportunity to let them be freely creative and build positive attitudes towards reading and writing.
Sara Leman is a mum, ex-teacher and author of the Reading Eggs ‘My First’ series. Sara also writes the lesson content for the Reading Eggs and Mathseeds programs.