Teach the Alphabet with Shutterfly Photo Books

It may be November, but I am already preparing for one of my favorite springtime photo projects. For the past two years I have created a Kindergarten photo book that is filled with many of our favorite memories from the school year, organized in a very kinder-friendly fashion: THE ALPHABET!

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kindergarten alphabet photo books created in Shutterfly.
I create the books in ShutterflyShutterfly. If you’re not already using an online program for ordering and sharing photos, Shutterfly is a great way to go. It’s free to create an account. You can upload and edit photos, organize them into albums, and create photo projects (like photo books!) as keepsakes or gifts.

More on that stuff later. First let’s check out the photo books!
kindergarten alphabet photo books created in Shutterfly.
Both books are titled “A Kindergarten Alphabet.” The academic year that the book was created is clearly displayed on the cover, title page, and book spine.

And yes, of course, they are both brightly colored!

kindergarten alphabet photo books created in Shutterfly.
Title page in kindergarten alphabet book from Shutterfly.com

Planning Your Alphabet Photo Book

It can be a challenge to find a good word for each letter of the alphabet. I highly recommend brainstorming ideas ahead of time and start thinking now of photo ops for the less-common letters of the alphabet.

Here are a few suggestions to get you started.

You only need 1-2 photos per letter of the alphabet. make them big and bold to make a big impact.

Include a photo of each child and place his/her photo on the page that corresponds with the first letter of their names. Let’s face it, some letters are downright difficult to think of a photo moment for. Here are a few ideas for some especially tricky letters:

O: opening presents. Include a photo from Christmas or any other time that students open gifts in the classroom.
Q: quiet (student with a finger over their lips.) If you do a Q and U wedding or fun activity that involves a question mark, these are great ideas as well.
U: upside down. Take a regular photo then use the editing feature of the photo book to rotate the image so it is upside down. Your kids will love it!
Y: yummy. Include photos from a particularly tasty treat you had in class.
Z: zany. Add photos of students making silly (aka zany) faces.
C page in alphabet photo book
It’s ok to include 2 consecutive letters on the same page. Here, you can see that E and F share a page with each other. One photo is provided for each of these letters.
E&F page in alphabet photo book
Don’t forget to add yourself to the book on the page that matches the first letter of your last name!
M page in alphabet photo book... love this idea!
U is always a tricky letter. I took a photo of the class making silly faces and rotated the image in the photo book editing tool so the picture is UPSIDE DOWN. This is always the student’s favorite page to look at.
U page in shutterfly photo book
Z can be another tricky letter. I created a collage of all students in the class making ZANY faces.
Z page in alphabet photo book

Getting Started on Shutterfly.com

Creating a photo book is easy! Simply create a Shutterfly account and click on Photo Books. Depending on how much time you want to spend (and your level of technical expertise) you can select from 2 options for creating your book Simple Path or Custom Path.

Simple Path is great for quick projects. You select the photos and the Simple Path tool arranges and creates a book for you (you can edit the layout and details if you wish to change the Simple Path suggestions).

Custom Path is the more tedious way to go, but it lets you decide every detail of your photo book’s layout and appearance. From font size and color, to page background designs, to photo sizes and layouts… EVERY. SINGLE. DETAIL is in your hands. It’s great for the detail-oriented person (like me!) The process is web-based (so you don’t have to install any software to your computer). The platform is user-friendly and easy on the eyes.

custom-shutterfly-photo-books
The previous Kindergarten Alphabet books I created are in my classroom library. My students LOVE looking at the first and second graders that they recognize in my old books. Just imagine their enthusiasm when my students see the book that THEY will be a part of later this spring!
alphabet photo book from Shutterfly as a kindergarten class keepsake

More Alphabet Fun

Looking for Additional Inspiration for teaching the alphabet in kindergarten?

You will find more great ideas in this post!

kindergarten alphabet picture collage

Do you use photo books in your classroom? I would love to hear what you do with them!

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Maria Gavin

Maria is a former kindergarten and first grade teacher, with 13 years of teaching experience. Her love and passion for all things early childhood is now fulfilled as a mom to two amazing kids. She loves sharing practical and creative tips and ideas that are perfect for young learners – in the classroom or at home!

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36 Responses

  1. I love this idea. I use photo books all the time, but their usually kid illustrate with a photo added….ie. a photo of each child climbing up their hand drawn coconut tree for our Chicka Chicka Boom boom book. Their pages are kept in magazine sleeves and the book rotates home for each child to read, and then returns to stay in our classroom library. I think this idea would be a a great keepsake for me 🙂

  2. Sooo love this idea! I am going to complete this project. Luckily I have been taking pictures this year, but now I will be more purposeful so that I know I have something for each letter. Thanks so much for sharing!

    ~Laura

  3. I must say that I truly LOVE all of your ideas!!!! I am teaching kindergarten for the first time this year at a Catholic school in NJ and I am addicted to your blog, and everything on TPT. So creative!! I will definitely be doing this for my students this year. Thank you so much for sharing your creativity!!!

  4. Such a great post!! I have been meaning to make photobooks for each year, but I haven’t gotten around to it yet! I love how your books turned out! They are adorable!! I was just looking at some of the style options and was wondering what style you used to make your books? I love the background colors yours have! Thanks! 🙂

    Molly

    1. I was just looking at NEW style options and I love the One Cool School yearbook, Color the Town, Best Day Ever designs, Bright & Bold, and Our Family Story. I didn’t use a specific style to create my book. Instead, I knew that I wanted solid color backgrounds in bright colors, so I searched through all the background options to find the brightest solid colors and added those pages to my book. I basically customized every part of the book. It took time, but all of the pieces that I hand-picked are in my shutterfly account and are ready for me to create a new book this year.

    1. Hi Nancy, I was just looking at NEW style options and I love the One Cool School yearbook, Color the Town, Best Day Ever designs, Bright & Bold, and Our Family Story. I didn’t use a specific style to create my book. Instead, I knew that I wanted solid color backgrounds in bright colors, so I searched through all the background options to find the brightest solid colors and added those pages to my book. I basically customized every part of the book. It took time, but all of the pieces that I hand-picked are in my shutterfly account and are ready for me to create a new book this year.

  5. I’ve been following your blog for a while now, and I just want to tell you I love what you do in your room!! It is amazing and I try to do at least some of what you have happening. I added the Alphabet wall this year. I’ve been meaning to do one of these alphabet books for a while (or color book) for my own kids at home. I have one in particular that doesn’t seem to be catching on quite as easily. Thanks for the reminder and beautiful example!!

  6. I make one through ipages and run off copies for each child. I used to do color but htat got cost prehibitive..so I run the cover in color and the rest b&w…..turns out pretty well…some of my ideas for the harder letters;
    O-One hundred day (as stretch I know),
    Q – quiet in the Library (picture of class with Librarian), quiet time,
    U-Under the Coconut Tree (my chicka chicka tree in hall), unique kids, upside down(hanging from monkey bars)
    X- eXtra special kids, eXciting times
    Y-yipee! (various pictures of kids having fun)
    Z-we make a Zoo in our room with crepe paper bars and the kids bring in stuffed animals

  7. I love this idea! I am not sure I’ll be able to pull it off this year, but for sure I will plan on it for next year. I have been taking pictures all year long for a DVD I will hand out to kids at their post-assessment testing, so I might be able to make it work. 😉 On an unrelated note– I am so jealous of your small class size! I have 26 kinders and it is just so hectic!

  8. This would be cool to do for each kid (as long as you got them at their great sale prices!) I usually do a memory book for the kids at the end of the year anyways. By the time we print all the pictures, we are spending a good chunk of money anyways. This would be so neat to do. May have to do our zoo trip earlier in May though just to get them in on time! 🙂

  9. Do you have an option for parents to purchase or is this something that you just purchase for your library?

    1. YES! Shutterfly provides a link that I share with my parents so they have the option of purchasing a copy for their own library.

  10. Yes, I use photo books. Your books are awesome. I simply use Microsoft Word and print out my pages which I place in sheet protectors. Then they go in a thin binder. We have a class library with many class books.

  11. Maria, I love this idea! The past three years I’ve done a shutterfly “memory book” with various things we did throughout the year, but never with the alphabet. I LOVE IT! Even though I’m first grade now I’m hoping it’s still fun to do an alphabet theme and not too “kinder” for them. But I need help with a few letters, would you mind giving me some ideas you’ve done in the past? I don’t have students with I, E, N or T and I can’t think of things we did that would be fun for those pages. Any ideas would be greatly appreciated!

  12. I love this idea!! I do a Class book titled Kindergarten Times 2015. I add a chapter each month filled with pictures of that month’s activities and then each child takes the book home to share with family and friends and they are able to leave a message for the authors and illustrators. It is a great sharing with families. Then at the end of the year it stays in our classbook library and the next year’s kinders love to read it…..and ask are we going to that? Love your ideas and the christian aspect, I teach at a Lutheran school and love the christian products you make available thanks!! Ellen

  13. I just have a question I am trying to do the same for my class and I just wanted to know what size for did you use for the font (for example: G is for..)
    Thank you for your help 🙂

    1. Hi Paola, I used size 72 font for “B is for” and size 48 font to label the items. I hope this helps!

  14. Which font did you use throughout your book? Its absolutely adorable!!! I started on mine yesterday!!

    1. I used 2 fonts throughout the book: Zalderdash and Neutraface Book. Best of luck as you create your own alphabet book!

  15. This is such a great idea! Is there a way for the students’ parents to order a copy as well? Let me know if there is. This would be a wonderful end of the year project!

    1. YES! At the top of the screen when you are working on the book, there is a “share button”. You can email parents a digital copy of the book and there is an option for them to order a copy as well. You don’t have to do any of the work. Just click share and shutterfly handles the rest!

  16. Can you show us what your book looks like without the pictures?? These are so adorable! You are very creative!
    Thank you!

  17. I’m doing a book for our auction and I love what you’ve created. Is there any way you’d share all the letters with me? I’m not creative when it comes to words! Thank u!

  18. I am driving myself crazy trying to find that white frame you used for your pictures! Mine are different shapes/sizes and I cant find a white frame that will let me adjust to fit the photo.

  19. I absolutely love this! I know you shouldn’t share the faces but is they anyway you can share a one or two of your books with us/me using Shutterfly? I wondered if would be possible to switch the pictures and maybe just a couple other thing to my class. (More like a template, either staring faces or removing pictures and sharing the book without them)

    Thank you for sharing this! I have been look for ideas for a long time but not finding what I like, until now?

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Hi, I'm Maria.

I’m a former kindergarten teacher turned work-from-home mom. I still love sharing ideas and resources to make teaching easier, so you can focus on what really matters in the classroom. When I’m not working on the blog, you’ll find me chasing kids around the house with a cold cup of coffee in my hand (some things never change even once you’re out of the classroom!)

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