Learning to read involves complex thinking skills, including understanding how books work, identifying letters and decoding the relationships between letters, sounds and words, according to the University of North Carolina School of Medicine. Simple books that focus on the alphabet or feature only a few letters from the alphabet help kids learn all of these things. Crafting personal books to teach the alphabet gives young children the tactile experience of cutting and feeling the shape of each letter, and bookmaking reinforces the alphabet knowledge for older children when kids help select images for the text.
Design the letters to use in the book based on the age of your child. Babies and young toddlers need only three basic letters to begin teaching the concepts of letters representing words and images. Older children can handle more letters. Kids with a sound understanding of the concept of letters can handle books that include all of the letters in the alphabet.
Select the materials for the book construction based on your child's age and maturity. Young toddlers enjoy the tactile feel of different fabric textures, and fabric books also allow you to wash the book after weeks of use. Select heavy cardboard materials for older toddlers to create a sturdy ABC book. Preschoolers and early elementary-age kids have the dexterity to handle books made from thin cardboard or heavy paper.
Take photos with the camera and print the images, or cut pictures from magazines to represent the different alphabet letters for older kids. You can also cut out fabric shapes for the letters for books for young toddlers.
Design the book construction. Cut fabric pages, using several pages for examples representing each letter for younger readers, or make cardboard or heavy paper pages, one page for each letter of the alphabet for books for older kids.
Attach fabric items to pages using a needle and thread or sewing machine, or attach the images to the paper pages with glue and allow to dry.
Bind the book together by punching two or three holes in the edge and drawing the string through the holes. Pin the edges of all of the fabric pages together and sew a seam to connect the pages to form a book for babies and toddlers.
Items you will need
- Fabric or lightweight cardboard
- Construction paper
- Sewing machine or needle
- Hole punch
- Ask children to help trace around letter shapes on fabric. Encouraging your child to help with the book process reinforces the basic letter shapes. Ask older children to identify pictures from magazines that begin with specific letters used in the book.
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- University of North Carolina School of Medicine: Learning About the ABC's...Teaching About Letters in Words in Authentic Contexts
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- Department of Education: Teaching About Letters
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