Not scrapbooking! Mini books!

As promised – a little more about minibooks!

Minibooks inside a lapbook

Minibooks inside a lapbook

I must admit that when I first saw lapbooks I thought, “Scrapbooking has come to school!” and thought it was fiddly, cut-and-pastey, and a waste of precious time.  I gave no more thought to lapbooking for 2 more years!  But  they are wonderful alternatives to presenting children’s work and offer excellent incentives to narrations and summaries.

So, what are lapbooks and minibooks?

A lapbook is an ordinary cardboard folder re-folded so that the covers meet in the middle and inside this “shutter fold” folder little mini books are attached.  These little booklets open in many ways, but they all provide a space for information, summaries, definitions, illustrations, sequences etc.

Minibooks are small flap books, shaped books, concertina  folded books, layer booklets, matchbooks and rotating circles, to name a few of the many booklets.  I think some are used by scrapbook fans, but many are just simple folding paper books.  (I don’t even always print mine on card or coloured paper.)  Several google images show the work done by the children themselves without any preprinted outlines.

We love to use minibooks on the notebook pages! This combination is excellent when the notebook theme has several sub-themes, e.g.: World War I + first airplanes/ submarines+ Franklin D Roosevelt. The notebook page has place to summarize or narrate the details of the war on the lines, with a space below the lines where the minibook on Roosevelt/ airplanes/ submarines is pasted.  My girls love the extra booklets!  They often do them first!  My youngest, 7 years old, has started adding her own minibooks of pictures she has illustrated while I read to them, and she pastes these on to the notebook page too!

There are many websites with free templates to download and print out.  There are also several sites that offer complete lapbooks made for specific books or topics.  One can print the templates, lessons and layout out and simply follow their suggestions.

I have made my own lapbooks, but found the cardboard folder too long to fit standing up on my bookshelf or in the childrens’ files, so I cut off about 5cm from the top and make more space inside the folder by attaching an extra cardboard page with clear packaging tape.

A great idea for storing these lapbooks is to stick duct tape down the edge of the side fold of the folder,  fold the tape over and attach it to the back of the file leaving a space which now sticks to itself.  I then punch this flap of stuck duct tape and the lapbook can now be stored in the child’s file.

I use one file for everything!  We made dividers/ cover pages for each subject or discipline and all work is quickly filed away.  When the file is too full, or the year’s work is complete, we can take out the contents and bind the work.

I have found that contrary to it being fiddly and time-consuming, minibooks have generated much excitement to the narrations and the children have not been reluctant or bewildered in response to any notebook or minibook page.  Without the children being aware of it, they have written much more than they did in their books, they have been more enthusiastic, they have remembered more information and just love reviewing their pages!

Try it!  Homeschooling has become exciting!


2 thoughts on “Not scrapbooking! Mini books!

  1. Ah, thanks Nadene, this is what I want to do with the boys. They like the one or two lapbooks we have made, but I know my oldest likes pages with pictures on them about the theme we are working on (notebooking pages). I’m looking at different ways to represent the information about a topic.


  2. Good day! I could have sworn I’ve been to your blog
    before but after looking at a few of the articles I
    realized it’s new to me. Anyhow, I’m certainly pleased I stumbled upon it and I’ll be book-marking it and checking back frequently!


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