Making Books with Children All About MeRecently I taught a course for children entitled “Beyond Books”.  Each week I selected several books in the same category/theme/area of interest and planned activities based upon these books.  I tried to come up with fun, engaging & hands-on learning activities for the children.  My hope in this class was to encourage a love of reading, and an appreciation for books.

4132011 034For the topic “All About Me” we read Chrysanthemum by Kevin Henkes, Quick as a Cricket by Audrey Wood and On The Day you Were Born by Debra Frasier.  We talked about qualities that made each of us unique, and on the board I wrote each child’s name (vertically) and we came up with a word for each letter, for example, using Ella’s name:  E is for Enchanting, L is for Loving, L is for Laughing, A is for Artistic.  The kids had fun coming up with the words to describe themselves.  It was a perfect activity to boost self-confidence.

Making Books with Children :: All About Me

Then we set about to make books of our own.  Before class I made books for each child using copy paper for the inside, card-stock for the front & back covers, and staples & masking tape to bind.  Here’s what I came up with:
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For the inside pages I printed out some that had to be filled out by the students with writing, and some that gave a title and then asked them to illustrate (ie: the “My Family” page).  I also left some blank pages at the end for them to draw/write what they wished.
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The kids had a great time working on these books, and in the end they were so proud of their work.  I think that they were extra excited about the projects because they were so personal, and also because working on a book made them feel like authors. The children loved being authors and illustrators of books all about themselves…Ella is still looking for a publisher.
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This is a wonderful project to encourage self-awareness, an appreciation for oneself as a unique individual, good practice with reading & writing skills, and also find motor skills.  Another great thing about this project is it’s versatility.  I did it in a classroom with first and second graders, and I also did it at home with my 5 year old and my 7 year old.  I think you could also modify the project for older students or younger children (illustrations only).  You can do the project with materials you have on hand at home…paper & pencil, crayons, markers, or you can get fancy with the illustrations and make collages, or use real photos.   The possibilities are endless.  And the end result is a book you will treasure forever.