Paper bag books have been around for a long time, but these have a specific purpose. If you are looking for a fun way to model and practice reading skills, you should give them a try. Kids love hands-on learning, and yet, it's hard to find hands-on activities for language arts. That's what makes paper bag books a great option for modeling skills while using mentor texts. Visit this post to learn more.

Paper bag books have been around for a long time, but these have a specific purpose. If you are looking for a fun way to model and practice reading skills, you should give them a try. Kids love hands-on learning, and yet, it’s hard to find hands-on activities for language arts. That’s what makes paper bag books a great option for modeling skills while using mentor texts. With each project, you’ll find pages for skill introduction. Mini anchor charts are used to walk through the skill’s key points. Students can use close reading marks to tag ideas such as highlighting, underlining, boxing, starring, and make notes in the margins.

Benefits of using Paper Bag Books:

  • The books are inexpensive to make since they only require 3-4 paper bags per student and common classroom art supplies.
  • They are easy to put together. Since cutting is involved, they are best for grades 2 and up.
  • The books are adaptable (pieces can also be incorporated into interactive notebooks).
  • Once created, they are great for review (to prepare for state testing). As skills come up again, you can refer to the instructional pages before practicing.
  • They can be used for intervention. For the students I taught who happened to earn a retake on the Virginia SOL, I used these for remediation.

paper bag books for comprehension:

paper bag book for Nonfiction Text Features

Nonfiction Text Features Paper Bag Book

This book includes the characteristics of nonfiction, comparing fiction and nonfiction, information on how nonfiction text features help us, and examples of text features for instruction. For practice, students sort fiction and nonfiction traits, record what they learn on text feature accordion foldables, and analyze two books for text features. There is a grading rubric and a summarizing my learning page to pull it all together. Click HERE to learn more.

Narrative Elements paper bag book

Need a fun book report project or to hone in on specific elements of fiction? This book can be used with any text. THIS POST shows how it was used with the book, Thank You Mr. Falker . Characters, setting, and plot are discussed on the opening pages followed by students applying the information to the book they’re reading. This book also allows for favorite quotes and scenes too. Click HERE to see the resource.

Narrative Elements Paper Bag Book

Finding the Main Idea

Main Idea Paper Bag Book

Main idea is a skill that comes up from grades two through five. It’s one that requires the teacher to have multiple ways to explain it and practice it. This book includes teaching pages, main idea of paragraphs, main idea of photos, main idea in two articles, and sorting details to determine the main idea. Click HERE to learn more.

Fact and Opinion paper bag book

In this paper bag book, you’ll explain the difference between facts and opinion using selective highlighting and the two flipbook pages. Then, students sort facts and opinions, use a thesaurus , identify signal words, and finally apply to their reading. Click HERE to get this resource.

Fact and Opinion Paper Bag Book

Character Analysis paper bag book

Characterization Paper Bag Book

One of my FAVORITE skills to teach is characterization. How about you? I mean who wouldn’t love teaching about characters like Fern, Mercy, Strega Nona, or that girl, Junie B. Characters make readers love reading, but we learn a lot about life through them too. This book includes a look at inward and outward traits, making inferences about characters using their words, behaviors, and actions, sorting traits, and of course, application to literature. Click HERE to get your copy.

Cause and Effect Paper Bag Book

Cause and effect relationships seems like it should be a skill students grasp easily, but it’s not. This project guides students to analyze how events connect and how to recognize those signal words associated with cause and effect. Students work at the sentence level and application level for deeper understanding. Click HERE to grab your copy.

Cause and Effect Paper Bag Book

Teaching author’s purpose

Author's Purpose Paper Bag Book

My Author’s Purpose Paper Bag Book was just added to a free resource I used to have in my shop. I decided to expand it with this new project. It includes the five author’s purposes (PIE’ED): Persuade, Inform, Entertain, Explain, and Describe. Students learn how to detect each purpose, and then practice with an assortment of texts, with articles, and with a sorting activity. Truly, it’s lots of fun, and the feedback has been so positive. Click HERE to grab the resource.

Paper bag book for making inferences

Making inferences is not an easy skill, and most of my students have needed additional practice. With this project, they practices in at least 3 different ways. Here’s a list of the activities I included:

  • Making Inferences Anchor Chart and Examples
  • Making Inferences Chart Completion
  • Sorting Correct and Incorrect Inferences
  • Practice with Lily’s Purple Plastic Purse and Two Bad Ants, and
  • Sorting Inference Truths


Nonfiction Text Structures paper bag book

Students learn how to use text features to learn information from nonfiction books. The first seven pages of the book are for learning about each nonfiction text structure. Then, students pull the information together, practice reading paragraphs to determine the structure, work with texts (book list provided), write a sample for each structure, and summarize their learning. Again, you can use the pages in the book as displayed or in your interactive notebooks. The books also work well in guided reading groups and as a pair/share activity. Click HERE to learn more.


Synonyms and Antonyms are so important to know. Not only are they essential for polishing a student’s writing, but they are always tested too. As you can see in the photo, students work on differentiating between the two, sort them, use them in context, come up with pairings, and more. If you’d like to see additional photos of the resource, you can visit my listing HERE.

Synonyms and antonyms paper bag books

Learning Point of View

point of view paper bag book

Point of view is a challenging skill. This ENGAGING and FUN point of view project will help break it down. It can be used one section at a time to build the book over a week, as a group for modeling, or individually in small group. Once complete, it will help your students review. Click HERE to see additional images of the finished project.

Exploring Theme Paper Bag Book

Teaching theme can be tricky, but with this hands-on theme project your students will be ENGAGED as you explain what theme is, how it’s different from main idea, and share common themes in literature.

This project includes before, during, after activities that you can use with a variety of books. Students write in detail about the difference between theme and main idea, sort examples, work on guiding questions, explore theme in multiple texts, and explain their learning. Check out the preview HERE.

Theme paper bag book

Summarizing the Text Paper Bag Book

summarizing paper bag book

Summarizing text is an important reading skill, and this project is just what you need for instruction and practice opportunities. The book includes summarizing both fiction and nonfiction. Students learn techniques including SWBST, Hand Summaries, 5 W’s + H, and giving their summaries the MIDAS touch. You can use it as guided practice or as an assessment tool as well. Click HERE to learn more

Drawing conclusions, a challenging skill

Drawing conclusions is one of the toughest comprehension skills we teach because it requires such deep thinking. Children need lots of practice, and this project offers multiple instructional activities for teaching and practicing drawing conclusions. It can be used one section at a time to build the book over a week. Once complete, it will help your students review. Be sure to check the preview file for a better picture of how it works.

drawing conclusions paper bag book

Making Predictions paper bag book

making predictions paper bag book

Making and confirming predictions helps students stay engaged and comprehend. The book helps you teach, guide, and practice making predictions with your kids. Students work with pictures, text, paragraphs, and with self selected books. You can use it with your small group instruction, as practice in a workstation with parent support, or for partner work. You can learn more here.

The final book, making comparisons

Making comparisons between what students know and what they are learning is a critical reading skill. This making comparisons project provides opportunities for modeling, practicing and applying the skill of comparing and contrasting literary features. Students work through the guided practice part with the teacher, and then work with pictures, with nonfiction texts, fictional texts, texts by the same author, and fairy tale versions as they complete the final project. Learn more here.

making comparisons paper bag book


This HUGE bundle includes every single one of the books listed here at a really great price. It’s about 300 pages in length with SIXTEEN projects included. You can use all of the books as pictured or just parts of them in your interactive notebooks.