Get your child hooked on books during the preschool years and she’ll be on her way to a lifelong love of reading. One way to help your toddler get into reading is to get her into the book, literally. Kids love books they can relate to, and a personalized picture book will be one she’ll not only relate to, but probably won’t want to put down.
Creating the Book
There are many websites you can turn to for help creating and customizing a personalized book for your preschooler. You can choose from ready-made templates or format your own picture book, and materials appropriate for all ages are available, from hard cover to soft cover, padded to plastic, cardboard to leather. You simply provide the personal touches such as photos, your child’s artwork, your child’s name or family member names — anything that will have special meaning for your preschooler.
Types of Books
Personalized books can be an actual story about your child in an everyday or special situation, or it can be a made-up story where your child is the star character. The book can contain photos of your child and other family members, or drawings he did himself. If a grandparent lives far away or a parent is in the military and will be deployed, a book with the story recorded by the far-away loved one can maintain a personal bond over the miles.
Make sure the book you create is right for your child’s stage of development. The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) recommends predictable story lines for 2-year-olds, as toddlers love knowing what will happen next as much as they like to look at big colorful pictures. By age 3, says the CPSC, preschoolers are interested in stories about events they’re familiar with, and with a budding sense of humor, silly stories are often a big hit. At ages 4 to 5, explains CPSC, children enjoy reality-based story lines, holiday-themed stories or stories about animals with human traits. This age group is ready for a couple of sentences per page.
Personalized Books as Tools
A personalized book is an ideal tool for helping your preschooler deal with a transition like moving to a new home, the birth of a baby brother or sister, or a death in the family. A social story, explains the National Association for the Education of Young Children, is a personalized book that outlines your toddler’s day with pictures of him getting out of the car, coming into the school, doing a favorite activity, and greeting Mommy when she comes to pick him up, helping him deal with separation while adjusting to a new routine.