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Making a Homemade Reader

  • Here’s what you need to make a homemade reader:
  • rigid cardboard (use the backing of a drawing pad, I used the back of a watercolour pad)
  • Scrapbook paper in a pattern of your choice and a solid complementary colour
  • a story your child dictated to you
  • drawing paper for your child to illustrate his story
  • a small cross-stitch design for the title
It’s really a fun activity to do with your child. If he is old enough, he may be able to carry this project independently. But for the most part of building out the structure, precision is needed for the pieces to work together. Evan dictated the story to me. His story was based on a real event that had happened a few weeks earlier at our house. Four baby chipmunks were found by the boys, huddled around their dead mother. Her death must have been caused by our cat and the boys felt the need to help these four orphans. They were fairly full grown but still seemed to need guidance on how to survive since they did not leave their mother’s side, they were very hungry we noticed. Tristan said one of them had run up to him without fear and his friend had picked him up. We took care of them for roughly a week, made a natural habitat for them scattering dry fruit and nuts for them to scavenge and leaving some water in a cap. They built their strength up and we released them back into the woods.
So here’s a photo tutorial on how to make a homemade reader! Something worth keeping and cherishing.


(1)Using a rigid cardboard measure three rectangles

  Two rectangles of 5 1/2″ X 9″ for the front and back covers

  one rectangle of 1″ X 9″ for the spine

(2) Cut using an ‘exacto’ knife to get a straight, clean edge.

 (3) Choose a patterned scrapbook paper and place one of

the covers slightly off the paper. Trace around the cardboard

and measure an additional 1″ border. Cut two of the same.

(4) Choose a complimenting solid colour for the spine.

(5) On the back of your solid colour, trace the cardboard

spine making sure to have 1″ of border

(6) Position the cardboard surfaces like shown

making sure to leave a small space between the sides of the spine.    

(7) While using a glue stick, glue all three cardboards

to the solid colour paper, fold and glue both top and bottom tabs.

(8) Taking your patterned paper, extend your tracing lines

to the edge of the paper and add a 45′ angle to each corner.

(9) Cut the corners off and flip the rigid cardboard over.

Position your patterned paper like shown and glue in place.

(10) Turn over and fold down and glue all six sides.  

(11) Calculate how many pages you will need. Remember not

to count the first and last pages for your story (add them to the number of pages you will need)

, you will be using the front and back to glue the book to it’s hardcover.

Taking good quality drawing paper, cut 10 1/4″ X 8″ fold in half.  

Print your child’s story by using a text box format and adding a border.

Print and give to your child to cut around the frame. Have your child illustrate

each page on good quality drawing paper.(10) Using a ‘blanket stitch’, sew the pages together at the fold.

(11) Glue both the illustration along side the printed story.

(12) Using the solid complimenting paper, cut two

pieces of the same to cover the front and back of the book. Ours 

measures 11″ X 8″. Fold in half, glue one side to the front hardcover and the 

other to the first page. Do the same at the back, fold the other piece in

half and glue one side to the last page while the other side is glued to the back of the hardcover.  

(13) Cross-stitch a simple title for the book. This would be

a great opportunity for a child to make, I tried to encourage Evan

but he felt it would take too long. So I stitched it for him. Voila!

Your reader is complete. Now your child can read it over and over again,

while he improves his reading skills.                     

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