I’ve put the following information together to answer some commonly asked questions. Feel free to contact me with any additional questions!
Who are these books and flash cards designed for?
These books and flash cards are designed to encourage reading and encyclopedic knowledge. I created them initially for my 4 year old who has Down syndrome. Many families just don’t have the time or technical knowledge to put together the files themselves, so I put these together with that in mind. They are great for kids with special needs, but could be used as a homeschool resource as well. They are fun and educational for any toddler or preschooler and would make great gifts.
How do I use the digital downloads to create my own flash cards?
This is a good place to start if you’d like more information on fast flashing and how to make flash cards. The PDF files I sell are designed so that it’s very simple to just print, fold, and laminate. They are formatted for standard letter size paper, though you should be able to print on other sizes by scaling the document when you print. They are formatted so that the word is upside down from the photo. This way, when you print the document, you can simply fold each sheet so that you have a flash card with the word on one side and photo on the other – and both are right side up!
Can I make my own books using the digital download?
Yes, though not necessarily the same format as the spiral bound books. The PDF files are formatted for flash cards. If you’d like to make a book, you could print it, cut the sheets in half so that the photo and word are on separate sheets (if you want the word on the page facing the photo), laminate, hole punch, and add loose leaf binder rings to hold them together. Or, you could simply print, cut the sheets in half, and staple them together. Another option would be to print, cut them in half, and put them in page protectors in a little mini binder. These are oriented vertically though, so the book would open up instead of to the side. You could also shrink the document, cut it down so the sheets are 10×7, cut that in half, then put those sheets into an inexpensive 5×7 photo album, like this one or this one (I don’t own either of these, but I have found similar ones at the dollar store, just fyi.) If you do make your own books with my files I’d love to hear back and see how you are using them!
What supplies do you use to make flash cards?
For easy reference, below is a list of items I use:
Inkjet Paper 24 lb – slightly heavier than standard copy paper
3 mil 6×9 Laminating Pouches – perfect size for a folded sheet of letter paper
Loose leaf binder rings – can be used to keep sets together if you hole punch a corner or to create little books as described above.
Where do you get your images for flash cards and books?
As often as possible I use my own photos. Flowers 1, for example, is comprised entirely of my own photography. The benefit to using my own images is that I own the copyright and can use them however I choose. Often I either don’t have the time nor access to photograph a certain subject. In these cases I will look for any images in the public domain, that are free for personal and commercial use with no restrictions. When I don’t find what I need, I broaden the search to include images that simply require attribution, meaning I cite the source and give credit to the artist. You may notice at times an image will have a photo credit at the bottom. At other times, a photographer might give me personal permission to use an image. As a last resort I will purchase the necessary stock photography.
It is important to understand that I have spent many hours gathering high quality images for the purpose of these projects. Under no circumstances should you copy or re-distribute these files, whether it be to give them to a friend or to sell them to someone else. This is strictly prohibited, and may violate copyright law. When you purchase a digital product you have permission to print and use the files for your individual personal use.
How do you decide what subjects to include in each set?
I include subjects that are more specific than what can easily be found elsewhere. In other words, I didn’t create a set of words like “bird, flower, insect” because I already have generic flash cards for those. Instead, I wanted to give my kids more specific knowledge, such as types of flowers and birds and insects. In looking for subjects to include in these flash cards and books I came to the realization that I could easily be bogged down in the details and overwhelmed with how best to classify and organize. So, as has become my motto, I decided to just get it done and not worry so much about doing it perfectly. For example, in my Insects set I include ladybug and beetle. Technically a ladybug is a beetle, and I could dedicate entire sets just to beetles. I chose instead to show a photo of a common black beetle, and just label it “beetle.”
Another example is in my Flowers set, I debated between using scientific names or common names, and ultimately went with common names. For one thing, my daughter probably can’t pronounce most of the scientific names, and for another I just want her to be able to recognize and read the names of common flowers. In later sets I may get more specific. Heck, maybe I’ll release a beetle set after all 😉 Apparently there are over 350,000 different species of beetle! Right now these are the sets that I’m using with my kids, and I hope to continue adding subjects and sets over time. I’m always open to requests and suggestions!