A personalised photo book (using sight words)

An idea for a personalised photo book, to encourage kids to recognise sight words and help them learn to read.
This would make a great gift – who wouldn’t want to read a book all about themselves?

How do you encourage your kids to read?  How do you make it enjoyable for them (and for you)?


Well, toddlers tend to be very self-interested, so I thought Pickle and Chops might like to have a book about themselves.  I wanted to include lots of pictures, because Chops is too young to read in the conventional sense, but he loves to ‘read’ the pictures and talk about them, point things out and make his own sound effects!
Pickle on the other hand, is now starting to recognise lots of words and read signs etc, so I decided to include lots of sight words in the book, hoping that he would learn to recognise them by reading along with me.

If you don’t know what a sight word is (I had no idea either!), here’s a simple explanation:
“Sight words refer to the words that are most frequently used and repeated in books… the same 100 or so words make up more than fifty-percent of the text that students read.”
Learning to recognise these high-frequency sight words can help young children become more fluent readers.


To make your own personalised photo book, you will need:
– a computer with access to the internet
– lots of lovely electronic photos of your kids (easy, right?!)
– a list of sight words (you can download free sight word lists at 3 Dinosaurs blog)

COST: a tenner or more
AGE: toddlers and young children
TIME: over an hour


How to make a personalised photo book for kids (using sight words):

  1. Gather all your photos together – it helps to have some kind of theme.
    For example, Pickle loves tractors, balers, combine harvesters etc and Chops loves animals), so I decided to make a book about a farm visit.  If you’re going to use Photobox to print your book, you will need at least 26 different photos.
  2. Put your photos into order.  Try to make some kind of story or ‘flow’ if you can (the Photobox book creator can help you with this), but for toddlers, this really isn’t crucial!
  3. Use an online photo printing company (like Photobox, Snapfish, Vistaprint or Blurb) to add your text.  If you want to (and it will work with your ‘story’), include some sight words from your relevant list.  Don’t let the sight word list limit you – I included words like ‘cultivator’!
  4. Check and double-check your photo book before submitting it for printing.
  5. Wait for it to arrive, open and enjoy with your little ones!

Pickle and Chops LOVED being the stars of their own book and can both ‘read’ it without my help.  I will definitely be making another one (maybe Santa could help me make one for each of their stockings this year)…

What kind of books do your children enjoy?  How do you encourage them to read and love books?  I’d love to know!

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13 thoughts on “A personalised photo book (using sight words)

  • September 16, 2013 at 5:45 pm

    How neat is this?! I think I might make one with our annual apple picking trip as the theme!

    • September 16, 2013 at 10:14 pm

      Great idea Tiffany – that sounds like a really fun trip with plenty of scope for great photos and story-telling! 😀
      Will you come back and link up once you’ve made it? I’d love a peek!

  • September 20, 2013 at 11:37 pm

    I never thought about doing this, but it’s a really good idea! I think my niece would like this. Thanks for the idea!

    • September 23, 2013 at 9:51 pm

      Thank you Lisa (and you’re very welcome)! I hope your niece loves it 🙂
      P.S. Just laughed so much at your Spanx post – funny funny funny!

      • September 24, 2013 at 12:55 am

        You’re too sweet! I’m glad you enjoyed the Spanx post. I wish that story wasn’t true. I wish so many of the things on my blog weren’t true.

        Thanks for reading! 🙂

  • February 25, 2014 at 10:06 am

    That’s such a good idea! My two love books. Their favourite at the moment is ‘we’re going on a bear hunt’. I’ve read it so much to them that a Flower knows it off by heart and reads it to Bear.

    • March 1, 2014 at 10:25 pm

      Aww, that’s so sweet! Little ones love hearing the same books over and over again don’t they? I guess the repetition helps them learn… And of course if they learn it off by heart, they can ‘read’ it any time they like 😉

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  • March 6, 2014 at 5:02 pm

    This is an excellent idea! My two would be excited at the prospect of receiving a personalised book. Thank you for sharing!

    • March 9, 2014 at 10:58 pm

      Thanks Bek. I am going to have to make another one – it’s been a HUGE hit here! 🙂

  • April 23, 2014 at 3:25 am

    I love this. I am pinning it for the future. Thanks!!

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