“If you don’t see the book that you want on the shelf, write it.” Wise words by Beverley Cleary. I love this. I love that writing your own stories has a bunch of benefits. Here’s some for ya!
Engaging young readers
Sometimes its hard to engage young readers. The first thing I would say to a frustrated parent is “get the child to choose their own reading material.” But if there is nothing on the shelf that grabs them, then this is the perfect opportunity to get into some writing instead. If a child writes their own story, they are much more likely to read it with a positive attitude and they may even want to share it. Sharing it only spreads the message of literacy, so I say “share away.”
You can even use a home made book to help your baby develop their language, and to understand reading behaviours. To help Louis learn about his family, we have used an old photo album with pictures and labels. We put one word on each label and stuck it on the corresponding picture. Sounds simple, but it is very effective for learning faces and names. He quickly learned who Mummy, Papa and Henry were because we look through this book every night at bedtime. He even kisses the pictures of us goodnight. Bless!
Here’s another example of a home made family book from my old friend M. M did the typing and printed the pictures, but if you wanted to do this with older children they could absolutely do this themselves. They can make it or their own collection or for a gift for a family member. This was given as a birthday gift, but with Christmas right around the corner what a beautiful gift to find under the tree.
Improves Writing Skills
Practise, practise, practise. Like anything else, consistent practise is a sure way to get better at writing. Writers read, and readers write. So doing one compliments skills in the other and vice versa. Writing regularly can strengthen fine motor skills, handwriting, typing skills, language, creativity, imagination and confidence in the world of literacy. The more your child writes, the chances are the more they’ll improve. So take out that pencil and paper I say!
It Sparks Creativity
Writing and making their own books is a great way to spark childrens creative thinking. It’s so important to allow and even encourage children to imagine all sorts of weird and wonderful stories in their minds. Some of the most amazing imaginations have influenced us in the world of literacy and the bright lights of Hollywood. Children who think are children who create a world of opportunities for themselves. We just need to allow it.
However you go about this book making is totally fine, find a way that works for you guys. All I ask is that you simply provide your children with the chance MAKE. You could get old scrap books, binder books or sketchbooks and make your home made book as simple or as fancy as you like. Ours is super simple, but depending on the age of the child, you can make it as complicated as writing a novel or making a picture book with killer illustrations too. You can type it or hand write it. Ask your child what they feel like writing/making. It could be a picture book, a novel, a non fiction, a sci fi, or a board book. It could be heavily led by you, like the photos I shared above, or it can be a totally independent project for your little ones. Let them create and explore. Writing their own text is excellent for their imagination, creativity, language skills and overall literacy development. Then they can read their creations. Yes!