Thursday, 15 June 2017

Summer Book Creator Journal

As a kid, there were times when I kept a journal on and off. Sometimes those journals were longer pieces of writing and others they were bullet points of things I did.

Regardless of the format, I always loved looking back at my journals and remembering many of the different things that I did over the weeks and months.

Last summer, I thought it would be great for my own kids to keep a daily journal of some of the highlights of their days. We decided to use one of our favourite apps, Book Creator, to make the journals. It was such a great success that we are going to do it again this summer.

I learned a number of things along the way and I wanted to share what you can do to make your Book Creator summer journal a success.

1. Keep it Simple

One Post Per Day - No one likes a tedious task that needs to be done every day. This is especially true when one is on holiday. My kids knew they had to fill out a page for each day and share at least one thing that happened on that day. The posts were short but as the summer went on, they added more and more detail to their posts.

Speech To Text - It was easier for my daughter to use the speech to text function on the iPad to put the text into each page. It was vital that the kids could create the journal entries on their own or with very little support.

Simplify the Design - We decided on one size and style of font for the title and a different one for the writing. In keeping with good design, we kept these font throughout the book to make it easier. The only changes we made was to make the font white or black depending on the background image. To make this easier, they duplicated the page from the previous day and that way the page had the same size fonts. I said they could choose any font colour they wanted as long as it was black or white - no bright pink fonts here! We wanted to think about the reader of the book and not just choose our favourite colours.

Keeping it simple was really important because it made the daily task of creating a page doable and something that wasn't too much of a chore while on holiday.

2. Make it Visual

Use a Photo or Video - It is much easier for people to remember something when it is connected to a visual element. So every page had at least one photo or video to accompany the text. I made sure that I was capturing photos on my phone every day just in case my kids didn't. 

We tried to fill the page with a photo if we could and then put the text over top of the photo.

One of the great features of Book Creator is that I can add videos into the book. Sometimes these videos were of an event like being pulled on the back of a boat on an tube while others they were a video slideshow of many photos from the day made with Quik.

3. Get into a routine

Our routine was for the kids to do their journal entry first thing in the morning. We didn't want to do a week's worth of entries all at once because it was too hard to remember the details of what had happened. 

The details of day are the things that we forget and so these are the things worth remembering. They are the aspects that are really fun to look back on. 

One thing about using Book Creator on the iPad is that the journal is only in one place. This has it's benefits and its drawbacks. The iPad is very portable so it is easy to travel with and we don't need internet to use Book Creator. The main drawback of being on one device is that there is no backup. If something goes wrong with the app or the iPad, you could lose everything. An easy solution to this is to periodically download the ePub file which can be easily edited on another iPad which also has Book Creator. If you haven't used Book Creator before, here is a quick tutorial to help you get started.

I am really looking forward to seeing what my kids create this summer in their journals. Last summer's journals are fun to look back on. In the future, and as the kids get older, maybe the next step will be to use iBooks Author instead of Book Creator. We will see. For now, Book Creator will be the place where we store our summer memories.

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