I love digital cameras! Younger people probably take it for granted, but I am so delighted that I can take as many pictures as I want, pick out the best, share them with my friends and family and keep them on my computer – all for free! I remember the days of deciding whether to buy indoor or outdoor film, paying to develop the pictures, and usually paying for double prints so I could use the pictures different ways – then excitedly opening the envelope of prints just to see that some were out of focus or didn’t capture what I wanted to save! Yay for technology!
Pictures are a great tool for motivating children to read and write, especially if they are in the pictures. When our family goes somewhere or does an activity, I often make a book for them to read and remember our fun. The first thing I do is print out pictures and ask the children to put them in the right order. Sequencing is such an important skill, they love to retell the events as they put them in the right order. Sometimes I ask them to tell me what is going on in each picture, and I write down what they say – using their words for the book. Owen is beginning to write on his own, in Kindergarten I would ask the children to write a sentence for each picture.
Here is a simple book I made showing the steps in making a snowman.
I used this idea to introduce the idea of writing How To books in Kindergarten. When our class did a special activity I would intentionally take lots of photographs showing the sequence of events. Then as a whole group – or in small groups – we would sequence the pictures and write a caption for each page. These made very popular books for our reading center.
Children love to read books about themselves too, so wben I make books for my grandchildren I usually use their names in the text. For example, I would write “Owen helped Daddy roll a big ball of snow.” My grandchildren read and re-read these books. You can make books about anything you do – making cookies, watching a cement mixer, going shopping, planting flowers – just get out your camera and make memories!