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Creations by You IlluStory won the 2010 Parents Choice Award

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Make your own Book!

Give your child the thrill of being a published author! Budding authors simply write and illustrate their story using the markers and special book pages included in the kit. We even include our own unique Story Web to help author’s plan the essential elements of a story. The completed story pages are mailed to us in the postage paid envelope provided, or the book can be made entirely online using our Internet drawing and writing tools. In just a few short weeks you’ll receive back a professionally typeset, hardbound book your author will want to show everyone! Finished books include a title, dedication and “About the Author” biography page to give it a truly professional touch.

IlluStory is a multi-award winning children’s activity kit and perennial best seller because few products, if any, can build as much self esteem and excitement for reading and writing. The quality of our finished personalized books are a tremendous value and reward any level of effort. Consequently, an ever growing number of families have made publishing with IlluStory an annual tradition. Extra books can be ordered and are the ultimate gift for family and friends, especially since each extra copy can be separately dedicated to the recipient. Ages 5 to adult.


You, Too, Can Be A Storytelling Pro!

We’ve got Goodnight Moon  memorized.  I can recite Go Dog Go  from the front seat while waiting in the carpool line.  And, there’s only so much of Put Me In The Zoo that I can take, you know?  So, I’ve been honing my skills as a story inventor and I’m hear to tell you, it isn’t all that difficult!

Creating your own stories opens up a whole new world of learning.  Children are able to use their imagination to picture the story you are telling in their heads, and it enhances their ability to think creatively as well.  With the exposure to verbal language, a child’s own verbal vocabulary grows.  And, it is a great activity for adults and children to share, making for stronger family bonds.  The best perk, though, is storytelling requires NO batteries, NO electrical plugs, and NO TV/video screens to entertain your child.

The best stories we tell in our home are the ones of my husband’s and my childhoods.  My boys love to hear about the time I threw rocks at a wasp nest, yet it was my brother that was stung.  They patiently wait for the part about my mohter’s loving reaction and how that simple moment changed my relationship with my brother for the better.  They equally enjoy my husband’s tales of racing his big wheel down the sidewalk with the neighborhood kids and the stories of Star Wars figures and Adventure People games.  I think that by sharing bits of our past, we’re opening the door for our children to do the same with us. 

Making up stories is just as important.  We have an ongoing story of a little brown rabbit that lives in our flower beds in the front yard.  Our little rabbit tells tales of his day, intermingled with activities that we’ve done.  The stories become so real for them that they actually look for the little rabbit from time to time in the front yard.  And now, my older son is taking part in the stories, weaving our little brown rabbit tales into descriptions of his day.  At times, when things don’t go quite right for him, a little brown rabbit tale is the easiest way for him to tell us what is going on.

So, how do you come up with stories to tell children when you think you’ve got nothing to tell?  Here are a few ideas: 

  • Ask yourself: What if?  What if we could fly?  What if we got on a train today?  What if the sun shone all the time?  Asking a “what if” question is a great way to start a story.
  • Retell a story you already know.  Take Goodnight Moon and make it Good Morning Sun.  You’d be surprised at how much fun it is to change the ending or create a different character.  And, kids love to get in on the action!
  • Try an autobiography – pick fun or silly moments to start with, or choose something from a time when you were the same age as your audience.

The most important part of storytelling is the talking part.  It opens up commication between you and your child that will pay off ten-fold in years to come.

When Does A Child Start To Learn To Read?

Reading is one of those major milestones in a young child’s development.  As a parent, we wait with baited breath for the day to come that we don’t have to read Harold and the Purple Crayon one more time to our child because they can now read it to themselves.  It is with joyful celebration that we acknowledge their accomplishment of the written word.

But when does all this reading begin?  It starts with the first book the parent picks up and shares with the child, at one day, one week, one month or older.  The things we, as parents, do with our children at a very young age prepare them for becoming sucessful independent readers.

There are five skills that specifically enhance a child’s literacy experience from birth that parents should share with their children.  How a parent addresses these skills will depend on the age of the child, and they will change as a child grows based on their ability level.

  1. BUILDING A VOCABULARY:  Children should be exposed to as much verbal language as possible.  Explain to your baby where you are going and what you are doing.  And, when a baby babbles back, stop and listen to their “talk”.  This is how babies learn the art of conversation.  As children grow, you can name objects, talk about feelings, and eventually get them to share their feelings.  Reading aloud from a very early age is extremely vital – they hear the oral sound of words and the flow of a story.
  2. ENCOURAGING A LOVE OF PRINTED WORKS: Make sure your child can see the book you are reading, not just the pictures but the words, too.  And, as a child gets older, let them choose their books to hear and read.  Give them ownership and acknowledge their literary preferences.  Let your child see you reading things that interest you as well – magazines, books, newspapers…let them see that reading is a life skill.
  3. STORYTELLING: Reading a favorite book over and over again is a wonderful way for a child to grasp the concepts of beginning, middle, end, plot, characterization, mood, climax, flow.  So, when you are reading Goodnight Moon for the eightieth time in a day, realize it is a GOOD thing.  Let the child hold the book and help turn the pages.  Play games with the book as the child gets older…if you hold the book upside down, does the child realize it?  And, as they become familiar with a story, can they tell it back?  Many young children like to retell a story and turn the pages, and they are thrilled that they can “read”!  Point to the words so your child will understand how we read.  With older children, ask them questions as you read, such as “What happens next?” or “What do you think is happening in this picture?”
  4. THE LANGUAGE OF LANGUAGE: Play with rhymes and songs, making up actions for the words you say.  Finger plays like “Itsy Bitsy Spider” and “Wheels On The Bus” are great for encouraging language and vocabulary development.  With older children, have them come up with rhymes: what rhymes with ball?  What starts with the same letter or blend like ‘truck’?  As children discover the relationship of words they will develop skills for helping them read unknown words later on.
  5. KNOW YOUR ABC’S:  Talk about shapes with your child (round, square, short, small), point out letters on printed material, like a cereal box or sign down the street.  Read books that focus on the letters of the alphabet.  As a child gets older, encourage a multisensory approach to letters, making them from playdough, playing with magnetic letters, or building different letters from other household items (we like to use cooked spaghetti!).

Keeping these skills in mind will not automatically make your child an early reader, but they will encourage language development and an early awareness of the printed world.  The goal is not to have a child that reads at three years old, but to foster a love of print and stories that will, in turn, encourage reading skills. 

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