Today I am sharing ways to encourage your kids to be budding authors, or rather how to raise budding authors. Affiliate links are shared in this post.
My 6 1/2 year old is a gentle, sweet, creative soul. She loves crafts, art, and anything DIY. My 4 1/2 year old son is a busy builder. He tinkers, studies the way things work, unbuilds and rebuilds.
I am often in awe watching the way their minds work. It has also been interesting to see the influence they have on each other. My daughter was never into LEGO…until little brother started to play with them. And little brother loves to try out any art techniques that big sister gets to do.
One thing we all have bonded over is books. We started a bedtime book routine with our kids when they were babies. Two books before bedtime every night. Even when they napped we did two books.
Over the past year they have become incredibly excited about the idea of making their OWN books.
Can I just say how adorable this is to me?! ARG! SOO. VERY. ADORABLE!
I mean…educational, yes that's what I meant, so very educational. Ahem.
I've found that a lot of everyday habits combined with occasional special “author” treats have really been encouraging to them as they explore the idea of being authors.
Below is a list of ideas to incorporate into your life if you want to encourage kids to become budding authors. Please let me know in the comments below of ideas that you have on this topic! I'd love to add them to help other readers.
Ways to Encourage Budding Author Kids
- Always say the author and illustrator when you read books. I was at the library once when my daughter was very young and noticed another mom saying the author's name when she started reading books. I thought, “How odd, they don't even know what an author is at this age!” But then I started to see how it is beneficial. Even at a young age my kids would realize when we read books by the same author. Now, in first grade and preschool, they seek out books by their favorite authors. They know where to find those authors at the library. They understand that a real person wrote that book, and a real person drew those pictures. I really believe this helped them to know they could be an author one day too.
- Learn about authors. Read the book flaps on books to your kids. They are often just as funny or sweet as the text of the book, and it really adds context to the story when you start to feel like you know the author. Now that my daughter is reading on her own regularly we are checking out author biographies when we come upon one for authors we love. Mo Willems comes to mind right away. You can also find out a lot about an author on their website or by following them on social media, if they have accounts.
- Read books from award lists. Clearly there is a whole world of books to explore, you don't need to stick just to award winning books. However, I love making our way through award lists with our kids, or pointing out books with award seals on the cover. It reinforces recognition for good, hard work. Writing books is hard. It's work. Some authors receive awards for their work. Talk about it. 🙂
- Listen to Audiobooks. Some of our favorite audiobooks have been those that are read by the author. We use a combination of our library's audio book service and Amazon's Audible, which has Mo Willems books read by the author. (HINT: Try Audible and Get Two Free Audiobooks) If you want to giggle a ton…and then cry like a baby, I highly encourage you to listen to all three Knuffle Bunny audio books….the end of the third one includes a very sentimental message from Mr. Willems. Oh, there were tears. TEARS. I'm crying now, just thinking about it. In case it is not clear, we have a warm spot in our hearts for Mo Willems in our family. 🙂
- Watch Books on Video. Scholastic has a wonderful Storybook Treasures video series that features story books portrayed in a video format. Some, like Corduroy are live action, with real actors. Some are still shots from the classic books, while others are animated short films of the story. Years ago, my daughter used to have quiet time and nod right off watching these videos. They're slower paced than your average cartoon or movie and give a new perspective to favorite books.
- Find Author Interviews. My kids got into a big Teacher from the Black Lagoon phase and we found that the Scholastic Video version of the Black Lagoon books features an interview with the author and illustrator. After this video the kids declared Jared Lee their favorite illustrator and declared they MUST make books for him and write him a letter. It was pretty sweet, and may never have happened if they hadn't heard about his life and how he became an illustrator.
- Write to authors. This has been one of the most rewarding experiences for my kids. They love making small books for their favorite authors and illustrator and sending them off with a hand written letter. I usually add a note about how much the author has meant to our family. And you know what?! They usually write back! Some more popular authors may not be able to write back to every fan letter, but it still feels great to show that appreciation and send it off.
- Make quick and easy paperback books. If you have just a couple blank sheets of paper and a writing utensil, you have everything your child needs to make a super quick book. Just fold in half, and get writing and drawing.
- Make special hardcover books. When your child is a little more confident or serious about book making, have a special book making day. Amazon has many shapes and sizes of blank hardcover books.
- Read books about writing books. My daughter really liked the author portion of What Do Authors and Illustrators Do? It is two books in one, and discusses the process of writing a book in an approachable format for kids. For less of a business approach, we also liked How to Write a Fractured Fairytale.
- Teach them basic graphic design. I use a very user-friendly website to edit photos and design graphics. It's called picmonkey.com. When my daughter was 6 years old she asked to make a book using picmonkey, and you know what? She did an awesome job! There are plenty of cute clipart type stickers the kids can use in the free version of picmonkey, or you can purchase inexpensive clipart from places like TheHungryJPEG.com if your kids have specific characters in mind.
- Take a video of your child reading his or her books. Whether it is two pieces of paper stapled together, a hand drawn hardcover or something they designed on the computer, your kids will LOVE the opportunity to read their books to others. If you have a faraway relative or lots of family on Facebook, share the video with them (with your child's permission) and let them hear the reactions and compliments.