It’s easy to make your own little readers at home.

Books based on your child’s interests and experiences will make reading relatable and enjoyable for them.

Here’s how you do it…

1. Find a story structure.

You’ll start to notice repeating sentence stems in books for early readers.

For example:

My Family.
This is my mom.
This is my dad.
This is my brother.
This is my sister.
This is my grandma.
This is my grandpa.
This is me!
This is my family.

This is my is repeated over and over. This is a story structure that you could use in your little reader.



Other examples of repeating sentence stems:

Here is ___________.
Here is ___________.
Here is ___________.


Look at the ___________.
Look at the ___________.
Look at the ___________.


or





The _______ is here.
The _______ is here.
The _______ is here.

and many more!





2. Choose a Topic that Your Child would Love.


Does your child love cars?
Create a book that highlights their interests.

Do they have a favourite stuffed animal?
Create a book that features objects around home that have meaning to them.

Is the local farm their favourite place to go in the world?
Create a book about a recent trip or adventure you went on (…adventures can be to the park near your house).

The overall goal is to create a book that has meaning for them. Just add your own words to the sentence stems and you’re on your way.

3. Take Some Photos

This is the fun part! Get creative and take some photos for their book.

our little ones had fun staging these pictures.

It’s easy to go overboard (as in taking waaay too many pictures); it’s fun, right?! But try to keep your book to 8 pages or so (I notice that in most early readers, there are 8 pages total). Use this as a guideline to keep your book short and engaging for your little one. You don’t want a book that seems to drag on.

4. Create the Book.

Set up your Document

I use Google Docs to create books for my kids. Whatever word processor you use is totally fine (e.g., MS Word), just try to keep it easy and quick for you – otherwise you won’t feel like making them.

Here is a book for you, to help get started: Our Stuffies.

Feel free to make yourself a copy of the document so you don’t have to start from scratch (Just go to ‘File’ and then ‘Make a Copy’). Personalize it with your own photos and change up the text. My hope in sharing it is that you can see what it looks like as a document.

I use Comic Sans font because it’s the only font that has a proper shaped ‘a’.


Upload your Photos.

I found that the fastest thing to do was use AirDrop. If you have a MAC computer, go to that magnifying glass (search / find) icon in the top right hand corner of your screen. Then search AirDrop.

Then open up the camera roll on your phone. Select the photos you want to send yourself. You’ll notice once you hit the arrow in the bottom left hand corner to send it (either through text, email, etc.), tap AirDrop instead. Your photos will instantly go into the downloads folder in your computer. Save your pics and drag them into your document.

If you don’t have Apple products, email yourself the photos and save them to your desktop. I used to do that before I figured out AirDrop.

5. Print your Book, Cut & Staple. Done!

This baby doesn’t need to be perfect. Let’s be honest, there are going to be little hands all over it. That’s the whole point. We want them to read the book over and over. It’s going to get wrinkled and crumpled, and we can just print off another copy. No big deal.

I stack the pages and hold them up to the window to see through them. I quickly hack across with scissors doing my best not to cut off the words. Seriously. It’s meant to be quick and easy.

Arrange the pages as you wish and staple together. I use multiple staples along the edge versus one in the corner because I don’t want pages being ripped off while turning. It’s totally up to you.

Note from the writer (Lainie):

I decided to start making little readers for our son, Tate, when he started getting leveled books sent home from his junior kindergarten class. The books felt so outdated and low interest. The book about family was very nuclear and the book about Dad was about fixing things and working out. It’s not a judgment of the school or the teacher. You use what you have. I just decided to make my own.

I thought Tate might find it fun to read books about his favourite stuffed animal doing silly things (he has a funny little sense of humour) or to see photos of his family. Now we have three books and are looking forward to making more.

Although I was once a teacher, I do not have the same background in early reading as my friends and colleagues, so I reached out and asked them to share their knowledge and experiences with you by commenting on this post. Make sure you read the comments below. Just in reading them, I learned more. Thank you, Heather!

I hope you found this post helpful.

You can see other projects I do with and for the kids on my website: verylainie.ca There’s an option to follow my site to get updates right to your inbox (because who has time to search out someone’s website regularly). I’m also on Instagram sharing crafty projects at @verylainie.