What is a Lapbook?

A lapbook is a new twist to some old ideas. Many of you may remember all the shape books or mini-books you did in school. Those of you in education have probably collected a file of mini-book patterns over the years. A lapbook takes a folder or a large sheet of paper, and refolds it so that the ends fold into the center like shutters on a window to act as a big book to hold all of your mini-books about one topic. For instance, on my daughter's earth science book, she had a variety of mini books on rocks, volcanoes, earth layers, etc. that was gathered into her Earth Science lapbook. This creative idea of gathering mini-books into a larger book seems to have been generated by Dinah Zikes. You will notice some of her sources mentioned in the book section below.

(Her books are a wonderful collection of ideas that can open up a world of possibilities. The money spent on her resources is well worth the price. )

How can they be used in the classroom?

Some work on these mini-books as they are doing a unit, storing them in a large freezer bag until they are ready to gather them into a finished lapbook at the end. I prefer to have my girls work on their lapbooks from start to finish at the end of a unit to assess what all they know about the topic. I give them a rubric that tells them all the areas I want to see covered in their books (areas we have worked on during our unit) and leave them to fully create their own book on the topic. I do have a folder they use of mini-book ideas and Dinah Zike's books, but I always encourage them to come up with their own ideas as well. Both my children like to do this because I give points for creativity.

I have also seen lapbooks that take two folders and refold them and glue one shutter side to the others shutter side to make an even larger shutter book. A friend with younger children than mine tells me that this works best for her students because they have more room to work and spread their mini-books out.

How are they created? 

Besides the refolding of the folders previously mentioned, you will need to make mini-books. These can be a sheet of paper folded into mini-books, or they can be shape books. You could use some ideas for making cards into mini-books as well as folding up a worksheet so that it will open up fully as a mini-book. Little circle wheel books work great as well. I especially like those to demonstrate cycles in science. You will find a multitude of ideas on the web sites listed, as well as ideas in the book suggestions. Notice that some of the web sites have actually posted some of their student's finished books. Check out our shutter book samples as well. Nothing works for me better than seeing the finished product. Good luck on your lapbook endeavors!

Sample of a lapbook:

Ashlee's Earth Science Lapbook (Grade 7)

Book Sources:

Zike, Dinah, Big Book of Books and Activities, 1989-1994, Dinah-Might Activities, Inc. (The book that is the basic starting guide and the one that started all the craze for shutter books.)

Zike, Dinah, Big Book of Books and Activities Religious Supplement: New Testament, 1993, Dinah-Might Activities, Inc.

Zike, Dinah, Big Book of Books and Activities Religious Supplement: Old Testament, 1993, Dinah-Might Activities, Inc.

Zike, Dinah, How to Use Dinah Zike's Big Book of Books video, 1998, Dinah-Might Activities, Inc. (Usually I don't recommend tapes if you have the book, but she is quite impressive with her ideas. Her excitement is contagious!)

Fairfax, Barbara and Garcia, Adela, Read! Write! Publish!, 1992, Creative Teaching Press, CTP 2323, Grades 1-5 (but with some creativity, ideas can be used beyond those grades. Some neat mini-book ideas not found in Zike's books that can be used in lapbooks.) 

Internet Links: Our school has some shape book patterns, coloring sheets, and worksheets that could be easily implemented into a lapbook., especially in the History and Science sections. Don't forget to look there too. Offers ideas on creating mini-books An art book assessment idea that could also be utilized for other areas. Join the Zikes egroup for book creators. Many of their members have their student's books in their file section that you can view besides all of the good ideas you get through the daily postings. Dinah Zike's WebPage Enchanted Learning's web site has forms and patterns that work really nice in lapbooks. The Ryan family has some of their books up you can view. Ideas for making some mini-books. Discusses how a book is made. Some shape book patterns. Shape book patterns Many of their ideas would work wonderfully in a lapbook. Has a few ideas for making mini-books that would work for creating a lapbooks. Book samples. Books to view. Would work great for a unit on the Human body. Wonderful site of templates on pop-up cards that could be used for mini-books as well as actual mini-books. They have some other patterns that a creative mind could implement as well. Many ideas, patterns, and forms that can be used in lapbook creating can be found here.


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