Tips and Tricks for Google Slides Picture Books

Why Google Slides?

Teachers and students are loving Google Slides for digital storytelling projects. For years, Google Slides was known for presentations but now educators have found dozens of innovative ways to use Google Slides in the classroom. Google Slides allows students to collaborate, add music and videos, receive feedback, insert images, work from a template, research information, and add animations and transitions.There are so many features that allow even the youngest students to create a pretty impressive picture book. Hopefully, this blog will provide you with many different ideas.

In this blog, we are going to look at a presentation created by my 8 year old son as an example.

1. View the Presentation

View the presentation by clicking here. You should hear audio and narration.

2. Adding Music

There is a fun “hack” to add music and narration to finished slideshows. First, go to INSERT-VIDEO and choose a video from YouTube or your Google Drive that has music. Then, resize the video to make it as small as possible and place it in the corner of the slide. Next, change the video format settings so that the video starts playing as soon as you present the slideshow. You do this by clicking on the video and selecting FORMAT in the toolbar. Now, you may checking off the box to autoplay. Your music will now start automatically once you click PRESENT.

I selected “Mute audio” for the video on Slide 7 so that you could watch the action taking place, but not necessarily hear all the distracting and unnecessary audio. You may also set the start and end time for video playback.

Set Format for Video Playback

3. Inserting narration

We used the Screencastify extension to record my son narrating each page. Screencastify is normally used to create a video of your screen, but we are simply using it to record the audio while narrating the digital picture book. Then, we will follow the steps noted above.

My son named each Screencastify video as Slide 1, Slide 2, and Slide 3 etc. so that we would easily be able to locate them while inserting them into the presentation. He then used the brand new Screencastify Add-on to insert the videos into each page. As mentioned above, we then resized the video and set the formatting to allow the video to play as soon as the slide appears.

Another option would be to use Screencastify to record the entire slideshow at once instead of page-by-page. Then, you could share your presentation as a video.

NEW Screencastify Add-on

4. Using a template with placeholders

We did not use a theme for this presentation. I did however create a template for my son to use by copying and pasting text boxes with image placeholders for editing. To edit each placeholder, we clicked on the shape and selected REPLACE IMAGE in the toolbar. This allowed my son to easily add images without having to resize and crop them. It also added some uniformity throughout the presentation. I created different placeholders using the cropping tool. Or, check out for some awesome FREE templates.

Click on shape- select REPLACE-IMAGE

5. Creating and Adding Clipart

Clipart was created using ABCYA’s Paint program. My son quickly sketched his clipart and then saved it as a PNG file. This made it simple to click and drag the png file into the digital storybook. Or, we could have selected INSERT-IMAGE-UPLOAD. Did you notice the spelling “Mikey Mouse”? 🙂 ABCYA Paint is a great option for elementary school students.

In lieu of actual photographs, we could have created a picture book completely using student created clipart. Another option would be to add photographs of illustrations by selecting INSERT-IMAGE-CAMERA and taking a photograph. also has many copyright-friendly images with citations included.

6. Auto-Advance Each Slide

When you publish a slideshow, an option appears that allows you to set the timer to auto-advance each slide. Due to the length of his narration, we set the timer to 5 seconds. You can also check off the box to restart the presentation when finished. Finally, this option makes it easy to copy the embed code and add the presentation to your blog or Google Site.

Advance slides using File-Publish to Web

Do you have any tricks for creating picture books with Google Slides?

Leave a Reply