My parents had just arrived at our home for a weekend visit when my mom handed me a small book with my boys’ photo and the words “The Carlson Alphabet Book” on the front.
“Carol made this for you,” she said.
A dear friend of mine, Carol Zook, made this sweet gift of an alphabet book for our family and had sent it with my parents to deliver to us. I began to flip through the book to find that she had personalized the pages with pictures of our family. I loved it immediately! And so did the boys when they saw it. All three of boys (ages 6 1/2, almost 5, and 2 1/2) love to “read” the book. That is if my youngest lets the book out of his site.
Cute side story… Brad and I went to Colombia, South America for our 10-year anniversary. And all week, this alphabet book was our youngest son’s most dear possession. To the point that he would flip through the pages of the book and cry when he saw the pictures of Brad and I. Grandma, while thinking it was adorable that Ethan just wanted to see mommy and daddy, had to hide the book from him after 3 days so that he wouldn’t be so sad. LOL
Anyways, not only is this awesome little book personalized for our family, but Carol designed it for all the boys to use it in multiple stages of learning. And she is joining me as our guest writer today to show you how you too can make a personalized DIY Alphabet Book for your family.
DIY Alphabet Book
I’ve been making alphabet books for my young friends. They take some time, but they are well worth the effort. And, they are great to work on with the kids too!
How to make it
- 4” x6” photo album. (I usually find these at various dollar stores. I try to get albums that have 50 sleeves.)
- Lots of small, colorful pictures. I gather family snapshots, and buy alphabet learning books (usually at various dollar stores). I also gather pictures from newspapers, magazines, brochures and calendars.
- Glue sticks
- Fine tip permanent markers
- 4” x6” index cards
- If you want to stress proper penmanship, look for an alphabet activity book that has an alphabet chart included. You can cut the letters out to put on the index cards.
What to do:
- Label your index cards from Aa to Zz. If you bought a 50 sleeve album, you will need two cards from each letter except Yy and Zz. (Only one page for these two letters.)
- Look at the family photos you collected. Place these on the proper pages. Don’t glue them down yet. Pets are important, too.
- Go through the learning books, magazines and newspapers and add other pictures. It will take a while to get your cards filled.
- Be sure to leave room on your index cards so that you can label the pictures. I find I can usually get three small pictures on a card.
- After you are satisfied with the pictures and labels, glue them down.
- Place the cards in the sleeves.
- Use and index card to put in the front cover. I usually put the child’s picture and write “————‘s Alphabet Book.”
- Try to find pictures that start with each sound a letter makes. (Example: apple, acorn, almond)
- Don’t be afraid to put a picture of something unusual. (Example: zucchini)
- If your child has a favorite interest, play it up. (Examples: Disney characters, dinosaurs, animals)
Activities you can do
- Name the pictures.
- Play “Can you find it?”
- Talk about family members.
- Talk about the letters.
- Talk about the sounds.
- Count the numbers of letters in a work.
- Count the number of times the featured letter is on the page.
- Have your child think of other words that begin with the featured letter.
- Talk about alphabetical order.
- Use as a dictionary.
- If you have included a penmanship example, talk about how to print the letter.
I have been fascinated to see the reactions of the children to the book I gave them. I’ve made 13 of these so far. They do take some time, but they will be used for years.
Carol Zook grew up in a small town with two younger brothers. She realized she loved children’s books when she took Children’s Literature in college. One of her favorite part of the school day was reading aloud to her classes. She misses that so much. Carol is God’s child, Vaughn’s wife and was a “3 hour mom” to over 1,500 Kindergarten students. She has been published in Pockets, The Secret Place, Guardian Angel Kids e-zine, Learn Every Day About Numbers and Learn Every Day About Social Studies.
Don’t you just love this idea? You could even make creating the alphabet book a family activity. Have your kids look for pictures in magazines for you. Then, let them have the scissors and practice those all important scissor cutting skills. They will love getting to help make the special family book and love the time they get to spend with you!