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Instant Homemade Books


Homemade books are one of the best examples of how parents can help kids learn to read. In a classroom setting, personalized books are difficult to manage. But at home, Mom and child can whip out a book in fifteen minutes. The whole point is to create leveled readers with meaningful content that is sure to engage your kid’s interest.

Homemade books don’t have to be perfect. I talk a lot on my blog about making homemade books from brown paper bags, but there are a myriad of other ways to create them.

Here’s an example of a book my five-year-old daughter and I made for her baby cousin last weekend. Jenna told me what to write and did the illustrations. Sometimes I helped prompt her, but pretty much the words were her own.


Notice how Jenna didn’t want to draw a picture for page one. Totally okay!


See how Jenna drew over the words? That’s okay too.


Rain, yes, well you can tell we live near Seattle! This is a very realistic plot development.


Normally I like to have one sentence per page at this level, but I honored what my daughter wanted me to write.


All in all, this book took us about 15 minutes to create. Then afterward, Jenna read it several times to her cousin. She felt very proud of her creation.

Ideally, it’s best to make 1-2 homemade books per week. Realistically, this is hard to accomplish, especially if you have multiple children. But once school starts in a couple of weeks, Jenna and I are going to be making lots of books as part of my afterschooling plan for half-day Kindergarten.

Homemade Bunny Book


When I was in teacher credentialing school, I learned that one of the most powerful ways to teach young children to read was by making homemade books about their world. That’s difficult to do in a classroom setting, but easy to accomplish at home.  For step by step instructions, please click here.

Now for the newest addition to my daughter’s homemade book collection–The Bunny Book!

Good morning, Mommy Bunny!

Good morning, Mommy Bunny!

Mommy Bunny wakes up Baby Bunny.

Mommy Bunny wakes up Baby Bunny.

Wait, Baby Bunny. You need your pants!

Wait, Baby Bunny. You need your pants!

Baby Bunny brushes her teeth while Brother Bunny goes potty.

Baby Bunny brushes her teeth while Brother Bunny goes potty.

Mommy Bunny makes the bed.

Mommy Bunny makes the bed.

Mommy Bunny puts Baby Bunny in the buggy.

Mommy Bunny puts Baby Bunny in the buggy.

Mommy Bunny takes Baby Bunny to the park.

Mommy Bunny takes Baby Bunny to the park.

Baby Bunny goes down the slide.

Baby Bunny goes down the slide.

Mommy Bunny and Baby Bunny rest after a long day.

Mommy Bunny and Baby Bunny rest after a long day.

Please feel free to print this out and read along at home. You could also share it online and help spread the word about Teaching My Baby to Read.

Backyard Book-Fort Book


Making homemade books is a free and easy way to bring high-interest reading material into your home.  For a young child, reading a book about her own life is about as engaging as you can get. 

(To learn more about homemade books click on the why and how-to.)

Here’s our latest homemade book for Jenna(3.5) about the fun we had this week with our backyard book-fort.


Jenna’s Tent


Jenna read books in her tent.


Marie-Grace read books too.


This is what the roof looked like.


You had to take off your shoes.


There was a jungle of raspberries outside.


Jenna had fun!


Paleo Mother’s Day Cookies

Paleo Lemon Bars

Paleo Lemon Bars

It’s been a while since my three-year-old and I made a homemade book together.  I need to change that because homemade books are awesome.  (For more on the how and why, click here.)

So here’s two learning opportunities in one.  We worked on basic math skills like counting, adding, and fractions by making lavender lemon bars yesterday, and today Jenna can read all about it.

Jenna Made Lemon Bars

Jenna added almond flour.

 Jenna added salt.

Jenna added lavender flowers.

Jenna patted the crust.

Jenna counted three eggs.

Jenna squeezed the lemons.

Mommy poured the filling!

(BTW, a similar recipe can be found right here.  Just add 1 T of lavendar flowers to the crust.)

Bob Books Alternative

We’ve really been having fun with dot-stampers!

Here is yet another thing you can do with them: make homemade phonics books.

Jenna is 3.5 years old now, and can sound this book out if she’s feeling cooperative.  But no matter how she’s feeling, she likes to criticize how Spot the Dog turned out.  (He does look a bit like an elephant.)

We also have a set of Bob Books Jenna is working through.  But Jenna seems to do be more inspired by books in color.  So I really need to get the dot stampers out again, and make another book.

(For more on the how and why of homemade books for children, please click here.)

Making Homemade Christmas Books with Children

It’s been a  long time since I’ve made Jenna(3) a new homemade book.  But she’s sounding out three letter words now, so I really need to get back in the swing of things.  Here’s our latest addition to her “Jenna Book” collection.

Feel free to print this out to make your own book.  All you need is a brown paper bag and some clear packing tape.

The Santa Book

Sleeping Santa

opens up.

Santa’s on a Christmas cup.

Santa reads the letter B.

Santa pours a cup of tea.

Santa’s going to make some noise.

Hurry Santa.  Bring your toys.

Jenna’s North Cascades National Park Book

Here’s our latest homemade book. It took so much “whine” to get everyone to the top of Thunder Knob that I think my husband and I could start our own vineyard. But the view was worth it!  For more on the why and how of homemade books, please click here.  P.S.  Check out the original Cascade Farm Organic farm stand we stopped at on the way home.

Jenna’s North Cascades

National Park Book

Jenna went to

North Cascades

National Park

Jenna climbed

Thunder Knob.

Jenna rode in

Daddy’s backpack.

There were pretty trees.

There was moss.

There was a bridge.

Jenna hiked and hiked.

Bruce carried his own backpack.

Jenna ate lunch at the top.

Jenna got ice cream

on the way home.

Princess Pat Books

I have always said that Bob Books are boring but brilliant. They worked like a charm with my son Bruce when he was three and four years old. While attempting to introduce set 1, book 1 of the Bob Books to Jenna(3) however, I just felt like I needed something more “princess-y” to grab her attention. So I got out some paper and crayons while she was taking a nap the other day, and tried to see if I could come up with something pinker.  Princess Pat books were born.

Admittedly I am THE WORST ARTIST EVER! By sharing this, I’m exposing myself to PUBLIC HUMILIATION! But since the mission of my blog is to help you ensure that your child is academically advantaged regardless of age, ability, or socio-economic level, I figured that I ought to post this latest endeavor. When I’m done with my Princess Pat books, I’ll have created a free set of easy phonics readers for you to print out on cardstock.

Of course, if anyone would like to take pity on me and actually draw some real pictures for this project, please email me jpgegs at: teachingmybabytoread at gmail dot com. 🙂

Princess Pat Book #1

Princess Pat Book #2

Princess Pat Book #3

Princess Pat Book #4

Jenna’s Summer Book

It’s been a long time since I’ve made a homemade book for my daughter Jenna(3), and I really need to get back in action.  (For more on the why and how of homemade books, please click here.)  Blogging helps keep me honest, so let’s see if I can’t make five books for her by the start of September…  Btw, the real version of this book I have printed out at home includes more pictures of her face.  🙂

Jenna’s Summer Book

Jenna did art.

Jenna went to the Zoo.

Jenna pet a goat.

Jenna had a birthday.

Jenna got Marie Grace.

Jenna got a new apron.

Jenna helped make cherries.

Jenna built a solar oven.

Jenna wrote on her I Pad.

Jenna wore lots of headbands.

Jenna read lots of books!

What to Do on a Rainy Day

Sometimes as a stay-at-home-mom it can be easy to get bored, even though we love our children tremendously. On gray, rainy days like today I can certainly relate to Jen over at Post-Apocolaptic Homeschool when she writes about her son needing something new and fun to do every few day to stay engaged, on-target, and most importantly not bored.

These past few days I’ve felt like every toy in the house has already been played 1oo times. Then I read a post from Nicol at A Better Life for My Family about water coloring with your kids as a family activity. I immediately though, “Duh! How could I forget about the watercolors?” We have at least four sets, but they were tucked away in the cabinet and I had forgotten about them.

Even if I had remembered them, I don’t think it would have occurred to me to actually sit and paint with Jenna(2.5). I probably would have just sat there and watched her paint. But today I put down my coffee cup, and joined in on the action. Of course, me being me, I had to add my own spin to Nicol’s activity. We made a homemade book about it!

For more information on the how and why of Homemade books, please see here.

Jenna Paints

This is Jenna.

This is Maya the dog.

This is Bruce doing yoga.

This is Jenna on the couch.

This is what it looks like outside.

Jenna’s Calico Critters Book

A great early reading activity for little ones that won’t cost you a king’s ransom is making homemade books. (For more information on the how and why of homemade books, please see here.) This is our most recent addition to our homemade book collection.

I’m not sure how this story line evolved into a judgmental mouse vs. bunny plot. To be honest, some days I’m more Mouse than Bunny myself!  Jenna had a lot of fun helping set up each scene.

Jenna’s Little Critter Book

Mrs. Bunny is walking to work.

Mrs. Mouse is yelling: “Don’t forget your car keys!”

Mrs. Bunny is keeping the playroom is neat and tidy.

Mrs. Mouse is yelling: “Clean up this mess!”

Mrs. Bunny is relaxing with Baby.

Mrs. Mouse is letting the kids destroy the house!

Mrs. Bunny is giving Baby a bath.

Mrs. Mouse is yelling: “Just go to bed!”

Which family does the Dog family want to visit?

Jenna’s Pumpkin Farm Book

Our family went to Fairbank Animal Farm’s Pumpkin Patch in Edmonds this weekend. We all had a fabulous time, until of course we were not and realized that we should have left ten minutes ago! Life with a two year old never fails to excite…  After we got home from the farm we ate dinner in a pumpkin.

Here’s the homemade book we made for Jenna(27m) about our trip to the farm. For more information on the how or why of homemade books, please see Homemade Books 101.

The Pumpkin Farm

I see a goat.

I see a turkey.

I see a cow.

I see a sheep.

I see a pony.

I see pigs.

I see baby chicks.

I see baby ducklings.

I feel the bunny!

Baby Goes to a Restaurant

She’s back folks! The popular start of such homemade books as Jenna’s Baby Book, and Baby’s Relaxing Day, has one more adventure to share. It took a long car trip to accomplish this culinary experience, but it was well worth the trip. For more information on the how and why of homemade books, please see here.

Baby Goes to

a Restaurant

Baby gets special dishes.

Baby reads the menu.

Baby drinks coffee.

Baby eats fruit and yogurt.

Baby eats ice cream cones.

Baby goes to the restroom.

Math for Dogs Book

For more information on the how and why of homemmade books, please see here.  For information on teaching your two year old math, please see here.

Who has more blocks?


This is Rosie. 

She has one block.


Now Rosie has six blocks. 

Rosie has more blocks

than Biscuit.


Biscuit has less

blocks than Lucy.


Lucy has the

most blocks.


Now Biscuit has none!

The Bieroch Book (and my Russo-German past)

This weekend the kids and I made a favorite food from my grandma’s Russo- German side of the family called Bieroch.  My grandma’s father and grandparents were Germans whose ancestors lived along the Volga River in Russia for three generations, but never lost their German heritage. 

The Russo-Germans were invited over to Russia by Catherine the Great to help settle frontier land.  One of the deals Catherine made with them was that they would never have to serve in the Russian army.  In 1874 Tsar Alexander reneged on that promise, and in order to avoid conscription, whole towns of Russo-Germans left Russia for the United States.  Most of them settled in the Midwest where they brought seeds of Winter Wheat with them.  This type of wheat grew really well in the Great Plains, and led to a wheat boom/bubble economy in the Midwest that precipitated the Dust Bowl.  There is a really interesting book about this by Timothy Egan called The Worst Hard Time: The Untold Story of Those Who Survived the Great American Dust Bowl, which I will include a link to at the end of this post.

Although it is never a good idea to generalize an entire population, the Russo-Germans had a reputation for being incredibly hard working, tidy, thrifty, and family oriented.  If you judge by my grandma’s family, they also placed a high value on education and training.  Three of my grandma’s nine siblings graduated from college, and my great-grandpa served on the local school board. 

During World War I and World War II many Russo-Germans were persecuted by their Midwestern neighbors for being of German descent, but this did not stop many of them from fighting bravely in the American army.  My grandma still has letters my great uncle Herman wrote her from the European front where he died.  He is buried in Arlington cemetery. 

Growing up, it was always frustrating to me to meet other kids from German-American backgrounds.  The foods our grandmas cooked were never the same things!  Now I understand that Russo-Germans have their own genre of cooking, including butter-ball soup, bump bread (made from cooked down watermelon rinds), and bieroch.

Nobody in my family likes butter-ball soup, and I’m not about to cook down watermelons, thank you very much.  But bieroch is something we all enjoy!  Usually it takes a lot of work to make, but I have developed a “cheaters version” using the crock-pot and bread machine, that is actually pretty easy.  This weekend the kids and I a big batch of bieroch together, and put about four dinners worth away in the freezer after feasting on it Saturday night.

Of course, me being me I’ve got to make a homemade book about our Bieroch experience for Jenna(26m)!  (For more information on the how and why of homemade books please see here.) 

I invite you to give bieroch making a try.  It’s really yummy and freezes well.  The filling includes hamburger, sausage, onions, cabbage, Worchester sauce and any spice you like.  For the dough, just use your favorite dinner roll recipe. Let them rise for 45 minutes after you form them, then bake at 375 for about 20-25 minutes.  (There is an official recipe at the top of this post in the hyperlink for Bieroch.)

The Bieroch Book


Jenna helped Mommy

make bieroch.


Mommy cooked meat, cabbage,

onions and spices in the crock pot.


The bieroch filling cooked

for a long time.


Jenna helped make the

dough in the bread machine.


Mommy rolled out the dough.


Bruce helped fill the bieroch.


This is how you wrap up bieroch.


Soon the bieroch were

ready for the oven.


Then the bieroch was

ready to eat!