Making a family story book: why it’s good for children

Family relationships give your child a sense of self and belonging. And when your child feels safe, secure and like he belongs, he has confidence to learn and develop through exploring his world.

A family story book can foster your child’s sense of identity and belonging. And making the story book can help to develop your child’s early literacy skills.

What you need to make a family story book

  • Photographs of your family
  • Scissors
  • Glue
  • Paper
  • Pens and pencils
  • Staples, or a hole punch and string or ribbon

How to make a family story book

  1. Show your child the family photographs and talk about them. The photos might be of people your child knows well, like a sibling or parent. They might also be of people she doesn’t see often or people who have died. You could include pictures of people when they were younger, including yourself.
  2. Tell your child you’re going to make a family story book together. Let your child decide which pictures he wants to put in the book and what story he wants to tell. It could be a story about something your child remembers, like Roly the dog getting lost. Or it could be a story you’ve shared with him, like what happened the day he was born.
  3. Make the book by cutting out the pictures and gluing them on the pages.
  4. Write the story together. Encourage your child to decide what details to include and how to say things, rather than writing the story for her.
  5. Your child might like to draw pictures of people and things you don’t have photographs for, like family pets.
  6. Staple the pages together, or punch holes in them and tie them together with string or ribbon.
  7. Keep the book nearby so your child can read it. A home-made family story book is lovely to share together at bedtime. Your child might also like to show the book to other family members, carers or friends.

Adapting a family story book for children of different ages

Your younger child might need help cutting and gluing the pictures. Try to guide your child by holding his hand while he uses the scissors, rather than just doing it for him.

Your younger child’s stories are likely to be very simple – for example, ‘This is Mummy. This is Daddy’. She’ll need you to write words and names for her. You can encourage her to try tracing over or copying letters and words as well.

Your older child might be interested in who fits in where. He might be able to understand that Auntie Jayanthi is Daddy’s sister, for example. He might also be interested in things that happened before he was born, like how his grandparents came to Australia.