It is said that it takes a village to raise a child. Indeed, it takes an entire village to educate one as well. The Publish It website will help you become involved in the development of your child’s literacy. The process of learning how to write does not fall solely within the realm of the classroom. On the contrary, it can occur within the comfort of your own home. Writing can be a positive experience for both child and parent if shared and mutually enjoyed.
A parent’s support is vitally important to a child’s success as a writer. The Publish It site can help you to enhance your child’s motivation to write, the development of their self-confidence, and it creates an opportunity to spend quality one-on-one time together.
Here are a few ideas to get you and your child started.
· In Grandma and Grandpa’s Day: Make a trip to Grandma and Grandpa’s house to get the scoop on what life was like when they were young. Write some interview questions with your child before you go such as, ‘how did you spend your time? What kind of chores did you have? Where did you get your food? What was school like?’ It might be a good idea to bring a tape recorder with you so you don’t have to remember everything. With the information you gather, write a book together about the kind of life grandma and grandpa lived.
· My Family Tree: Take photos of each member of your family and use them to create your very own Family Tree book. Write a short paragraph about each member explaining who they are, and how they are related to you.
· ‘My Favourite Recipes’ Cookbook: Write out your favourite recipes with your child, including measurements, ingredients, and step-by-step instructions. Make each recipe with your child and take a picture to add to your cookbook. You may want to use this as a homemade Christmas gift for friends and relatives.
· Family Keepsake: Another idea is to write a book with your child to create a priceless family keepsake. Your book could document a special family vacation for example. You may wish to include highlights of the trip, food that was shared, games that were played, and photos of course.
· Holiday books: Document holiday festivities to create yet another family keepsake. Whether it is about Christmas, Halloween, or Chinese New year, write a book sharing your experience by explaining how your family celebrates. Perhaps you would like to write about one holiday in particular or all of them more generally. Either way, track down some old family photos for your book to demonstrate your family’s special traditions.
· ‘I remember when….’ Brainstorm old memories with your child. Leaf through old photo albums to jog his/her memory and make a list of events from the past. Next, choose an event to write about. ‘I remember the time when Sonny had puppies…” for example. Encourage your child to be as detailed as possible in their account of the event.
· I’m a big Kid Now: Have your child reflect on how much they have grown up over the last few years. Write a book about all the changes that have occurred during this time. Begin by creating a ‘then and now’ comparison list. For example, “In the past I crawled, but now I walk. In the past I wore Velcro but now I tie my shoes. In the past I slid down the slide but now I can cross the monkey bars,” etc.
· My Neighborhood: Take a walk around your neighborhood with your child and make a list of all the places that you frequent. Take note of neighbors, schools, shops, parks, playgrounds, and public services. Write a book describing your neighborhood together. Take pictures of each place you describe. You could even draw your very own map! Create a few walking routes using ‘left and right’ directions for fun. Use your map to play, ‘Find the buried treasure.’
· Safety Tips: Write a book with your child to reinforce important safety rules such as looking both ways before crossing the street, never talking to strangers, and always chewing food well before swallowing. You could use this book as a reminder when your child is engaging in inappropriate behaviour. It might be a good idea to focus on particular rules that your child has difficulty remembering at times.
· Fire Safety Handbook: In case of fire, everyone in the household should know exactly what to do, including the kids! Writing a book with your child about fire safety is an excellent way to reinforce procedures. You could create floor plans and different escape routes, tips to avoid breathing smoke, important phone numbers in case of emergency, and a plan of action when safely out of the house.
· Invent a game: Has your child ever created his/her own game? If so, then write an instruction manual with your child explaining the rules so that others can play too. Perhaps you could play the game with the entire family, taking pictures all the while. If not, then create one togrther, play it, take photos, and then write about it.
· Family Pet: Write a book about a beloved family pet. Things to include are: Pet’s name, species, breed, age, a description, their interests, and where you got them. Make sure to include all your favourite photos.
· A Gift: Write a story with your child to give to someone as a gift. Topics may include, ‘I love you because ________, You are my hero, #1Grandma/Grandpa, For the best sister/brother in the world, Favourite Family Recipes, etc.
· Bedtime story: If your child is a fan of bedtime stories, then write one of your own together! In fact, you and your child could write a series of bedtime stories about a brave young character, (who just happens to have the same name as your child), that encounters many obstacles throughout the course of their perilous journey.
· What a Wonderful World: Have a discussion with your child; asking them why they think the world is a wonderful place to live. Write a book together, listing all their reasons. Include pictures that represent your child’s notions of beauty such as pictures of nature, smiling babies, animals, etc. Perhaps you could transform your written work into a simple poem.
· Our Earth: Teach your child about the importance of taking care of the Earth by having them reflect on all the ways they can help keep the Earth clean. Write a book with your child outlining all the things that your family does to live in an eco-friendly way such as recycling, reducing, and reusing, planting a garden, picking up litter, buying local organic food, saving rain water, carpooling, composting, etc. Take photos of each member of the family doing something to care for the Earth.
· Feelings: Have your child reflect on how they express themselves when they experience different feelings. Each page of your book could describe a particular feeling. For example, ‘When I am grumpy I… I get excited when… You know I’m happy when…Take pictures of the people in your family demonstrating different feelings to illustrate your book.
· Visiting Grandma and Grandpa: Send your child to grandma and grandpa’s house for the weekend with a camera. On their return home, look through the photos and write a book together about what their child did.
· Exciting Events: Any number of books could be written about events your child finds exciting. Events include sleepovers, birthday parties, family reunions, barbecues, or a visit to Ross Farm Museum for example.
· My sister/brother and I: Have your child write a book about their big/ little sibling. Some things to consider might be their age, their physical description, how their big sister helps them, how they help take care of their little brother, and their favourite shared activities. Such a book would honor their sibling and would become a family keepsake to treasure.
· Just right books: A just right book is a book that fits a reader’s purpose, interests, as well as reading level. If you do not have any books in your home suitable for your child, you could write some together about any number of topics your child finds appealing.
· Wants and needs: A great way to teach your child about wants and needs is to write a book. Go through your home with your child taking pictures of needed items and luxury items. Define want and need with your child and discuss each item you photograph in context. Write a book that includes your child’s definition of want and need as well as the highlights of your discussion. Some questions to ask are: Do wants and needs change? Do you need the same things now as you did when you were smaller? Do wants and needs change depending on where you are from in the world?
· Difficult Issues: Take the time to write a book with your child about a difficult issue that they are dealing with such as being afraid of the dark, being bullied, having lost a friend or family member, dealing with grief, etc. Writing a book together will help your child to express their feelings, develop coping mechanisms, and think proactively about a situation. Keep in mind this book will be available for all to see when published so remember to ask your child if they feel comfortable sharing their issues.
· Change: Your child may benefit from writing a book about any big changes they are experiencing such as the arrival of a new baby, moving to new house, or gaining a stepmom/ stepdad. By writing a book together, you can get to know your child’s state of mind and list the advantages of change. By writing a book together, you might be able to help your child understand a situation from a new perspective.
· Responsibility: Reinforce the importance of responsibility by writing a book with your child about their household chores. Describe a different chore on each page and add a photo of your child accomplishing each task.
· Theater Fun: Help your child write a play to act out with his/ her friends. Make sure there are enough roles to play for all those involved.
· Summer Vacation: Write a book about summer vacation to share with the class when school starts. Dedicate each page to one event or activity. Share some of your summer photos as well.
· Pen pal book swap: Get together with another family and write books for one another using the Publish it website. To make this activity more exciting, mail the books to one another.
· Backyard wildlife guide: Take your child into your backyard, or the surrounding area of your home. Bring a camera to document all that you see. When you have collected enough data, write a book about your experience. Write detailed descriptions of the bugs that you find and any other noteworthy things. Other outdoor book suggestions include: books about catching frogs, hunting for salamanders, bird watching, and observing the flora and fauna.
· Babysitters Handbook: Write a book with your child outlining pertinent information for the babysitter when parents have gone, such as bedtime, routines, safety measures, house rules, extra duties, important phone numbers, favourite books, snacks, and movies, emergency contacts. Discuss with your child what they feel is important for the babysitter to know. Take photos accordingly.
By now, I’m sure you have realized that there are an endless number of ways to use this website with your child. It is a way to encourage, support, and enable the development of your child’s literacy. It creates an opportunity to work on something together as parent and child, to bond, and to create a positive association with writing for your child. The site will allow you to reiterate rules, guidelines, and safety procedures. It is a way to teach your child about feelings, right and wrong, responsibility, and how to engage in prosocial behaviours. It is a way to create family keepsakes, to celebrate change, and give heartfelt gifts. Finally, it can be used to bolster confidence, creativity, imagination and self-esteem.