Join me at Teach Preschool!

Click here to see fingerplays and songs by Deborah! »

The Latest on Teach Preschool!

Friday, February 12, 2010

Making books with children

Making Books with children
By Marisa Constantinides

Making big or small books with children is not a novel idea; in fact, all you need to know about this is included in the wonderful series of books listed at the end of this short post, with some new ideas which include digital storybooks.

Children will love making various types of books whether they can write or are still at the pre-writing stage. Some Objectives:

  • To retell and illustrate a favourite story or fairy tale, e.g. Cinderella, or other favourite
  • To share information from a science lesson or series of lessons – for example, a book about snow, a book about saving water
  • To copy and illustrate the lines of a poem and chant or song they learnt recently
  • To showcase their own imaginative stories, dialogues and poems or rhymes
Even if they cannot write yet, they can always dictate their story to their teacher and by the process of watching the written word emerge on the page or by looking at it afterwards, they begin their road to reading.

The children will be using their fine motor skills for cutting round shapes, colouring in pictures, gluing shapes in place, as well as their artistic abilities and imaginative, creative thinking;  there is value across many levels, language development and literacy being of prime importance.

How to do it!  

1. Decide on the type of book; this can be...
2. Decide whether your pupils will be making
  • one big size book for the whole class
  • smaller group versions
  • an individual book which they can take home
3. Find and bring materials to class
  • coloured thick paper or cardboard
  • glue
  • colouring materials
  • magazine pictures
  • stickers
  • glitter
  • rounded scissors
  • other materials, e.g. pieces of fabric, dried flowers, very small objects, etc..


With children who are still at the pre-writing stage
  • you can ask them to tell you their story and you can write it for them
  • you can give them the words written on card or paper slips and guide them to glue them in the right place and order
With early writers, you can help them by asking them to
  • trace words or even whole phrases
  • fill in some words or phrases in gaps you have created and later copy them into their book
  • copy a familiar story or fairy tale into a book they have made
More independent writers can
  • write their own stories in rough first and then copy onto the book after the teacher has helped ‘fix’ any mistakes
  • write their own poems or other type of text – song lyrics, rap or short descriptive paragraphs

Digital Story books

Online tools like Storybird can make the children’s efforts look very smart and professional and  I am very fond of those as well, but I also believe that making their own hand made versions has got great educational value for the children.

After the children have finished,  you can leave their book on the server, go for the paid version if you want to print their book, or if you want to do it for free, you screen capture all the pages and print them as images.

Here are some examples of Storybirds....

Nana Can I Have A... on Storybird

My Heart Hurts When... on Storybird

Mixbook is another great site which I learned from Natasa Bozic Grojic’ s blogpost and here is the story she made with her son, “The Boy who listened”

Mixbook - Create Beautiful Photo Books and Scrapbooks! | View Sample Photo Books | Create your own Photo Book
But even a simple powerpoint slide show story can be great! Here is one I made with my nephew when he was about 5 years old using summer snapshots on the beach.

A Day On The Beach

Picture this:  A teacher is holding up a big book.

A group of children is gathered round her looking at the illustrations, listening to a story, acting out parts of it, involved  in the telling and retelling, noticing small details, repeating new words, learning new concepts.

Getting children to develop a love for books means spending time with books, reading them and making them. Whether you are teaching children in their mother tongue or in a foreign language, you will notice the great boost to language acquisition in the children.

Making their own books is the next logical step and early literacy teachers can apply everything they know to these enjoyable and memorable to children reading and early (or later) writing activities.


4. Make Books with Children Series: Here you can find a great range of books with ideas for making books with your classses. You may want to begin with the Making Books with Children.

Making Books with Children
  1. For Pop up books, you can visit here to watch and show the children short little movies of how Dave Carter, an author of popup books made some of his pop ups and the same page leads to some wonderful shapes in pdf format that you can copy and print out for your pupils to make their own books.
  2. Free Shape Books where you can find shapes to print
  3. ThinkQuest – A wonderful  site where you can find illustrated instructions  for many types of book shapes
About Marisa Constantinides 

Marisa Constantinides is the Director of Studies of CELT Athens and is responsible for the design and implementation of all the programmes offered by CELT.

Marisa's main qualifications related to teaching are the RSA Diploma in TEFLA (DTEFLA), a precursor to the Cambridge DELTA Diploma, and an M.A. in Applied Linguistics from the University of Reading in the UK. Her involvement in Teacher Development Programmes started at the Hellenic American Union where she ran workshops for colleagues and State School Teachers, then with Longman Publications running numerous training seminars for them all over Greece.

Marisa Constantinides has written materials for children (Basic Grammar Workbooks 1, 2, & 3 published by English Schoolbook Publications), activity books for Cambridge Exams set texts, and numerous articles on Language, Foreign Language Teaching and Education. You can follow her English blog at


A huge thank you goes to Marisa Constantinides for sharing this wonderful post with us!  Please leave your comments for Marisa below....



Jo Shabo said...

Great ideas! :) Thank you for sharing specifics- love it!

Miller Moments said...

Great post!!

Anonymous said...

Great ideas!

Today I took all the Valentine's from my kids and we made them into a book, "10 Little Valentine's." Starting with one and ending with 10 on each page, then added the words, "One little, two little, three little valentine's, etc." all the way to "Ten little valentine's just for you!" Sing it to the tune of 10 Little Indians...they love the new book!

Deborah (Teach Preschool) said...

That is an awesome way to create a book and combine it with music and a special holiday too!

karen Nemeth, said...

Wow! This is a virtual wonderland of ideas and resources! When teachers get more ideas for helping their children make books, they have more options to use the languages of the children in those books. It is not always easy to find quality books in all the languages you need - but creative teachers can just make their own. Get the parents, other staff or community helpers to provide translations. Research says every young child needs to read, be read to, and discuss books in their home language! Thanks, Marisa!!

Laura said...

This is, not surprisingly, great stuff from Marisa. I like to get em early and as soon as YLs learn 'Can' for ability I have them make an A4 'verb dictionary' with a picture per page of what they can do with 'I can...swim, fly etc' written underneath. We do this a couple of pictures at a time for several weeks and then they make their cover and I bind them. They're so thrilled... Who needs reports? "Look mum! I can write a book." Also great for learner training at very young age.

Teacher Tom said...

We do a lot of storytelling in class, but I've never thought to turn them into books. Now I'm inspired to help the kids take the next step!

Deborah (Teach Preschool) said...

Tom - you would make some really funny books with your kids stories. You should give it a shot.

Karen - there would be no shortage of books for children of any language to read if parents and teachers worked together to make their own books like these.

Laura - absolutely, who needs reports when there is great ideas like this up in action!

Marisa Constantinides said...

Thank you all for your kind comments.

It's great to see how quickly colleagues get fired up and take things up and develop even more exciting ideas.

Think also of

- word books
- health books
- food books
- rules books (for discipline!) which will contain the do's and don'ts of school life

And don't just do it all digitally. Children must learn to practise real writing, too!

Even though they are little, your young pupils can create some great material!

Teaching Heart Mom said...

As a teacher I loved making books with the kiddos and now I try to do it at home. My kids love the books we make. I really believe that this is a great way to get that love of reading going. Great posts filled with some awesome resources I was not aware of. Thanks

Elise said...

My three year old and I love making books. At the moment we use stickers as well as pictures from magazines and catalogues to help us create a story.

I was not aware of the digitial story books mentioned in Marisa's post. I am going to check the links out.

Natasa said...

What a great post, Marisa. Lots of beautiful and creative resources. Thank you for sharing my Mixbook here. It was fun making the book and I have learnt a lot from the experience. Children love books made especially for them and they really like to get involved. For me, this was an opportunity to teach my son a few English words. I will definitely try something similar again.
Storybook is beautiful and I love the idea of food books and discipline books.
Deborah, you have a great blog and I will definitely visit again.

Marisa Constantinides said...

Dear Natasa,

Thanks for comment and thanks again for creating this lovely story!

The "discipline" books would not of course be called by this horrid name!

They would be called something like

"Our Class" or "How we work together" or "Why we are a great Team!" or some such positive name.

In these books, the children, with the help of the teacher could dedicate pages to school/class rules illustrated by pictures or their own drawings.

E.g. Food in class
What we wear
Bringing homework
Being on time

Each of these could be a booklet all on its own!

If the teacher is able to suggest that all the great ideas have come from the children themselves, then, really, all your discipline problems (if indeed you have any - and if you are a good teacher, you probably won't) will be magically solved!!!!

Or so I have seen so far!


Related Posts with Thumbnails