Talking Books

Age Range: 7 - 11
By: Debbie Illingworth

HOW TO… Create a 'Talking Book' using Microsoft Publisher '98

  • Open MS Publisher '98. Choose Blank Page/web page/Create
  • Zoom in using the controls at the bottom of the screen, to about 75%.
  • Choose an animated .GIF from the clipart gallery:
    • Use the clipart tool from the toolbar - the one with a cartoon face on it - to draw a frame on your page. The clip gallery should open. Click the tab at the top of the page to select motion clips and use the 'find' and 'preview' options to choose a suitable clip. If you have an Internet connection you can click on the 'clips from the web' button to explore hundreds of free downloadable clips from There are also loads of other clips for free downloading on the web at various addresses.
    • Choose a .GIF and click on it. Click insert to load it onto your page.
  • Add text. Draw a text frame using the 'A' button making sure that it DOESN'T overlap another frame on the page, and type in your text. Comic sans is a good font for children which views well on all web browsers, and has the familiar infant 'a'.
  • Add a title for the page using the WordArt (WA) frame tool. When the title is set up an interesting background can be added to the frame by clicking on the WordArt box, clicking the paint can from the top toolbar, and choosing Fill effects/gradients, and changing the two mix colours and the gradient style from the editing page which appears.
  • Add a link to the next page:
    • Create a new page by clicking the arrow to the right of the page number box at the bottom of the screen and answering OK to the 'insert a new page?' query.
    • Return to page 1 and draw a small text frame, and type the word next. Highlight NEXT and click INSERT/Hyperlink. Choose the radio button 'another page in your website' click 'next page' and OK.
    • (This link can be copied and pasted to subsequent pages as you go along. On page two and subsequent pages, a BACK link can be made in the same way; choose Previous page.)
  • Check that the links work and the '. GIF' animates.
  • Click File/ web site preview, and your page should load with your current browser. Microsoft have (unsurprisingly) optimised the programme for viewing with Internet Explorer Version 3 and above, so Netscape users may need to make a few minor changes in positioning of frames etc.
  • Add sound:
    • To have sounds load with the page choose File/ web properties. Click the Page tab. Browse the 'background sound' section to find your sound file. (See next paragraph)
  • Sound recording
    • For sound you can use a file from the clip gallery, or other software programmes, but it is possible to include a file the children have recorded themselves. This can be a reading of the text, or other interesting sound effects or music. To do this the easiest way is to return to the desktop and open Windows Explorer.
    • Make a new folder on your computer called 'soundfile'.
    • Open the windows sound recorder utility. If you can't find this, click Start/find/ and type sound. A shortcut for 'sound recorder' should appear on the list. Drag the icon to the desktop for easy access.
    • Open up sound recorder and record your sounds. Save, and name the file 'page 1'.
    • Return to the web page and click File/web properties/page again. Save them in your 'soundfile' folder, and click on the page1 file. Click OPEN, and OK.
  • Check everything is working OK using File/ web site preview again, and save your web page if you haven't already done so. Continue to set up new pages in the same way.
  • When the talking book pages are complete, create a hyperlink from the last page to the first page. Click file/save as HTML. This will make an independent website, which doesn't require Publisher to view it.
  • Publish your work on the web and wait for the compliments to roll in!


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