How Making Books in the Classroom Can Make Learning Stick

Making books in the classroom can benefit students as writers and learners. Paper bag books can be created for content area learning and skillwork.

Research shows that hands-on learning helps increase student engagment and improves retention of the information learned. Kids love making things, and if you haven't made books with your students, then read on to learn tips to make them easy and fun. You can use student made books in all subjects to teach concepts and to make learning memorable, and I'm excited about how these paper bag books will make a difference with reading comprehension.


Making books in the classroom has been a well supported activity. Teachers can compile writing prompts to form class books which parents LOVE to see when they visit. But, why not use them for teaching?? Kids get a finished product filled with great learning and teachers get kids who love learning. Seems like a great partnership to me. Whether students are writing their own books or using a book format to compile information on what they've learned, you can't go wrong. Here are a few links on book making in the classroom you may find helpful:

✅ Learning from Their Own Work

✅ Student Made Books

✅ Student Made E-Books


No matter what you're teaching, book making can be a great way to pull the information together. You can use any of these materials for easy construction. Check out this post for more information.
With book making, you have quite a few material options. I love making paper bag books, but there are times when you may not have lunchbags on hand or may want other options. To make a 12 page book, you will need 3 pages bound in the middle. Four bound pages would lead to a 16 page book. Here are a few options you can use:


The dimensions of the lunch bag books are 5 1/2 x 5 1/4 when folded, so keep this in mind with the other paper options I shared. This is a nice size because it's compact, yet big enough for students to feel like what they are making is a "real" book.

If you're looking for a way to help your students understand content, check out this post on how to make books in the classroom.
Once you've cut your papers to the sizes listed to the right, then it's time to fold and bind the books. Luckily, standard computer paper and cardstock are 8 1/2 x 11, so with one cut, you can make a book with one fold. However, a filefolder book has a nicely creased middle for easy page formation and the thickness of the paper makes it fairly durable. In my opinion, you can't go wrong with any of these choices UNLESS you have things you need to store inside the open end of the lunch bag book.

Have you been thinking about a way to make our ELA lessons hands-on? Check out this post on student made books and how students can learn from using them. If you find you have foldables or printed pages that need to be glued onto the book pages, keeping everything in a plastic ziplock bags will eleviate the headaches of lost pages or pieces to foldables. Children can be a little disorganized, so planning ahead for that makes a huge difference. I recommend forming the books on one day and working on the pages in subsequent days. That way, you don't have to worry about loose pieces getting lost. You can also save pages until you are working on the activities within your small group.


Published Writing Pieces

Paper bag books have been around a while, and certainly, one great way to use book making in the classroom is for publishing written work. Not every piece of writing gets published, but if your students have the opportunity to publish a few, it will motivate them to want to write more. Kids love having pieces of their work as keepsakes, and once your students learn how to make the books, you can bet they'll be more likely to try it at home. For a full sized book, you can use grocery bags which create a 9 x 12 book. These are also great for creating class books with prompts your students complete.

Content Area Interactive Notebooks

Another great way to use your classmade books is in the content areas. Sure many use interactive notebooks, but have you thought about making a book instead? You can use many of the interactive notebook pieces and glue them on to the pages of your book. I personally like this idea for review when it's time for the test. All of the concepts are in one place uncluttered by extra information, 

Cross Curricular Integration

In our classrooms, we often have students with skills in art. Creative kids need the opportunity to use their skills because it increases motivation. Creativity comes also in the story writing, and since these books are easy to create, your students can focus on the content. RAFT papers are a great example of cross curricular integration. RAFT stands for Role-Audience-Format-Topic. A RAFT paper with a unit on the plants might be: Role-Sunflower Seed, Audience-Gardner, Format-How To Paper, Topic-Sunflower plant needs. RAFT papers could be put in a book too.

Skill Based Review and RTI

Coming up with new ways to help your students can be a daunting task. Sometimes we feel like we've taught making inferences every way we know, but some just don't get it. In your RTI sessions or in your after school programs, making books might just add a little pizzazz to help increase your students' engagement. Kids love hands-on activities, and hands-on activities are certainly easy to come up with in math and science. Making books might just hook them in and help them take interest in the practice needed for the skills to stick.

Recently, I've created thirteen different skill based books you might find helpful in your review. With each book, there are instructional pages at the beginning that you can use in small groups to review/teach the skill. Then, the remainder of the pages are for guided and independent practice. If you'd like to see what the pages look like, just click the image on the left. There are detailed previews with each listing. The video below shares a little information about each book.


It's time for kids to put on their detective caps to determine facts and opinions. With this hands on book, students write in detail about the difference between facts and opinions, sort examples, identify signal words, apply to reading, and explain their learning. Use as guided practice or as an assessment. This project includes an explanation of fact and opinion and information on signal words often used. Students practice sorting facts and opinions and explore facts and opinions in texts too.
Book Details:
⍟ Fact and Opinion Explained
⍟ Fact/Opinion Flapbook
⍟ Fact and Opinion Sorting
⍟ Facts and Opinions in Books
⍟ Facts and Opinions in My Reading
⍟ Signal Words Foldable
⍟ Summarizing My Learning


Cause and effect is challenging. With this paper bag book, Students explore the difference between cause and effect, work on signal words, create example situations, sort examples, illustrate examples, find examples in reading, and explain their learning. A grading rubric is included. Cause and Effect Relationships, for whatever reason, are difficult for students. With this book, students explore the difference between cause and effect, work on signal words, create example situations, sort examples, illustrate examples, find examples in reading, and explain their learning.  Project Details:
★Cause and Effect Explained
★Sorting Signal Words
★Outline an example
★Sort Statements into Cause/Effect Pockets
★Illustrate a Cause/Effect Example
★Cause and Effect in my Reading
★Summarizing My Learning


Need a fun hands project for your students' ELA block to practice theme? Look no further. This paper bag mini book project hits all of the teaching points for theme and compares it to main idea. It can be used as a work station, in interactive notebooks, or as an at home project. Students write in detail about the difference between theme and main idea, sort examples, work on guiding questions and explore theme in multiple texts, and explain their learning. Use as guided practice or as an assessment.Theme is a fun skill to teach. I love using fables to introduce theme to students, and as I teach theme, I compare and contrast it to main idea because sometimes kids confuse the two. 

In this book, students write in detail about the difference between theme and main idea, sort examples, work on guiding questions and explore theme in multiple texts, and explain their learning. Here is a list of the pages included:
⍟ Theme Explained (2 pages)
⍟ Theme Flapbook (2 pages)
⍟ Theme and Main Idea Sorting (2 pages)
⍟ Facts and Opinions in Books (2 pages)
⍟ Guiding Questions and Text Sets that fit a common theme
⍟ Summarizing My Learning


Students love hands on activities, and this paper bag book includes work with characters, setting and plot with extended writing opportunites. It includes a little artwork and practice with meaning.
This book was first uploaded as a book report project, but has since been revised to narrative elements. It includes a focus on character, setting, and plot. This book requires four paper bags or pages. Here's a list of what's included: ⍟Character Drawing/Labeling
⍟Characterization Flipbook
⍟Setting Summary
⍟Setting Illustrated
⍟Setting Flipbook
⍟Plot Summary
⍟Plot Puzzle
⍟Favorite Scene Illustrated
⍟Quotes to Remember
⍟About the Author
⍟All about Me


Summarizing fiction and nonfiction takes practice with strategies to pull ideas together. This hands on book will help your students practice strategies with multiple texts. Summarizing is another skill kids seem to have trouble with. This book includes summarizing strategies that students can use to select the best summary and create their own. Here's a list of topics included:
⍟ Qualities of a Great Summary
⍟ MIDAS Touch
⍟ Summarizing Techniques
⍟ Connections to Main Idea and Plot
⍟ Summary Flipbook
⍟ Summarizing Pictures
⍟ Guiding Questions
⍟ Writing Paragraph to Match Summary
⍟ Summary Sorting
⍟ Summary of my Learning


Learning nonfiction text features helps students better comprehend nonfiction texts. This paper bag book includes teaching pages as well as practice with multiple activities and texts. Learning how to comprehension nonfiction is so much easier if you use nonfiction text features to help you. Students often fail to realize that they don't have to read nonfiction front to back and can use it for learning just what they need. Here's what students learn in this book: ⍟ Characteristics of Nonfiction
⍟ Comparing Fiction and Nonfiction
⍟ How Nonfiction Text Features Help Us
⍟ Text Feature Examples
⍟ Sorting Fiction and Nonfiction Traits
⍟ Nonfiction Text Features Accordion Foldables
⍟ Text Features in Books (Choose 2)
⍟ Summarizing Your Learning


Kids have a hard time keeping synonyms and antonyms straight, but these hands on activities will help make the lessons fun and improve retention. Students grow word knowledge too.
Students explore the difference between synonyms and antonyms, give examples, sort examples, explore a thesaurus and practice using it for several activities, and work on overused words in this paper bag book.
Project Details:
⍟Synonyms and Antonyms Explained
⍟Synonym and Antonym examples (window foldable)
⍟Synonym and Antonym Sorting
⍟Using a Thesaurus
⍟Overused words
⍟Synonyms and Antonyms in Writing
⍟Summarizing My Learning


Hands-on activities make learning interesting and fun. This paper bag book provides a fun way to review and practice drawing conclusions. It includes anchor charts for teaching and multiple practice opportunities. This paper bag book offers multiple instructional activities for teaching and practicing drawing conclusions.

Project Details:
✪ Cover
✪ Drawing Conclusions Anchor Chart and Examples
✪ Drawing Conclusionss Defined (what it is and is not)
✪ Drawing Conclusions Chart Completion
✪ Sorting Conclusions and Simple Inferences
✪ Practice with The Widow's Broom by Chris VanAllsburg
✪ Practice with Brave Irene
✪ Drawing Conclusions about ME


Do your students confuse Point of View and Perspective? Do you need to find a fun way to practice point of view? Check out this paper bag book for your RTI sessions, workstations, or for afterschool lessonsPoint of view includes two terms...who is telling the story and perspective. In this book, both are addressed through the instructional pages. Then, students write about perspective and identify the point of view in multiparagraph examples. Here are the topics included: ✪ Point of View Anchor Chart
✪ Perspective
✪ Point of View Matters
✪ Point of View Sort
✪ Summary


Learning Main Idea just became fun for your students with this paper bag book project. It includes teaching pages as well as multiple practice opportunities. Perfect for small group instruction during the guided reading block or for your RTI sessions.
Main idea is a challenging skill, and it's one we need to practice all year. Students need to be able to identify the main idea of texts and tell how details support it. This book includes: Project Details:
⍟ What is the Main Idea
⍟ How do I find the main idea?
⍟ Connecting Main Idea and Details
⍟ Main Idea and Details Example
⍟ The Real Scoop about Raccoons (Flipbook)
⍟ The Interesting Life of Giraffes (Flipbook)
⍟ Sorting Details to Determine the Main Idea
⍟ Main Idea with Penguins!
⍟ Main Idea with Miss Rumphius
⍟ Summary of my Learning


If you're teaching characterization to your students and would like something different, check out this skill based book your students can make as they learn. The next book included in my bundle focuses on favorite skill to teach. I love exploring characters, and in this book, students learn about inside/outside traits, how authors directly and indirectly share traits, and more. Here's a list of the characterization topics and activities:
⍟ What Characterization Means and How to Analyze
⍟ Direct and Indirect Characterization
⍟ Determining Traits
⍟ On My Own Notetaking
⍟ Characterization Flipbook
⍟ Outside Traits in Pictures
⍟ Sorting Positive and Negative Traits
⍟ Characterization in Amazing Grace
⍟ Characterization in Mr. Lincoln's Way
⍟ Summary of my Learning


Children need lots of practice with making inferences. Check out this fun and exciting hands on project for making inferences! This paper bag mini book project offers multiple instructional activities for teaching and practicing inferring. It can be used one section at a time to build the book over a week, as a group for modeling, individually in small group, or as a literacy work station.
The last book included in this bundle teaches students how to make inferences.  Like the other books, the first few pages are dedicated to instruction and are followed by practice with different types of texts. Here's a list of the book activities: ✪ Making Inferences Anchor Chart and Examples
✪ Making Inferences Defined (what it is and is not)
✪ Making Inferences Chart Completion
✪ Sorting Correct and Incorrect Inferences
✪ Practice with Lily's Purple Plastic Purse
✪ Practice with Two Bad Ants
✪ Sorting Inference Truths

To check out the full bundle, click [here] or the image below:

Use a book for every skill you teach in the upper grades. These books include materials for modeling, guided practice, and independent practice for a fun and engaging review experience. Great for stations and test prep.


Making paper bag books with your students is fun and engaging. Students learn through the modeling, guided practice and independent practice, and when they're all done, they have an amazing book.Whether your kids are writing their own books, you are creating books as a class for review, or you've chosen one of mine to use with your kids for skillwork, you can not go wrong. Your kids will love it, and the finished product will make you and your kids feel proud. The wonderful thing about class bookmaking is that you'll have a finished product that you and your kids can revisit time and again.

Have a fantastic week, and if you have questions, please feel free to leave them in the comments or message me. I'm glad to help you.