Written by contributor Roan of Joyful Always.
Recently, I read The Year of Miss Agnes by Kirkpatrick Hill to my two youngest children. This is the delightful story of a teacher who spends a year in a remote area of Alaska teaching the local students in a one room schoolhouse. Miss Agnes does most of her educating in an unconventional manner, including teaching the children to read.
My eight year old daughter was fascinated by the way Miss Agnes made a book for each child, and then wrote his or her “story” in the book for that child to read. She promptly asked me to make a book for her and for her six year old brother too.
So I did. It really is such a simple process!
1. Fold five or six pieces of white paper and one piece of colored paper (for the cover) in half and staple. I simply titled the book, Leah’s Book. She is actually now working on her second do-it-yourself reader, and I titled it Leah’s Book 2.
2. Have your child decorate the cover.
3. Using words that you know your child can read, write their story on the pages. I used very simple sentences for my six year old, and I wrote only one sentence per page. Some of his sentences are Sam has an orange cat. Sam ran fast. Sam can hit with a bat. My eight year old’s book has a full page of writing on each page.
4. Write about your child’s hobbies, pets, recent happenings, favorite foods, his room, and really anything would interest your child. You will be limited in your content for a true beginning reader like my son, but I still try to describe his life while using words that he knows or can sound out easily.
5. Have your child read one new page each day and then illustrate it. Usually I write the new page each day while they are working on something else, like math.
6. Have your child read the entire book, including each day’s new page for daily reading practice.
7. When you fill up one book, start another one!