As a fun teaching tool at our house — and you’ve probably heard of it before — I landed on the idea of making an age-appropriate “book” for each of my kids using a three-ring binder and a digital camera. This has been such an interactive way to encourage my kids, equip them, and make them feel loved. I slap pictures in a Microsoft PowerPoint slide show (Word works, too), print them out, slide them in page protectors, and viola! One more way to say, “God made you special!”
When they’re toddlers, I put their picture on the front and narrate the book from their perspective. “I’m ___ ___ ___. I am __ years old.” We talk about where they live — from the map to their specific address with a picture of our house. Now we’ve got a picture of the president and our flag in there, too. I put in pictures of people they love (bonus if it’s a picture of the child with the relative), especially those who live far away. I couldn’t resist adding, “My brother and I are learning to share and speak kindly to one another”! Then we go through their daily routine: pictures of them sleeping, eating breakfast (you can add ideas about what’s healthy), playing with their favorite toys or friends, going to the park, taking a bath, etc. I switch out the pictures as they age but keep the old ones for sentimentality. They never seem to tire of finally reading a book that’s all about them. It has been fun to affirm people’s love for them, as well as teach them some basic personal facts — even their phone number or parents’ names that can be helpful for safety.
My preschooler recently helped me create his own alphabet book, which includes pictures of him with his favorite stuff (“H” is for helicopter and hammerhead shark), as well as some of his favorite characters from books and, well, nearly all of the characters from Cars (“M” is for Mack and Mater — this raises the book’s popularity considerably). I even throw in a few spiritual things (“Y” is for “Yes, Jesus loves me”). He now “reads” through it himself. How cool.
What I didn’t anticipate? A) The snuggle time as they glowed on my lap while we read about them and B) Putting the outdated books into our memorabilia box because they represent a slice of our lives together and our fun memories reading the books. Hope it enriches some of your homes like it has mine!
Originally published August 2008