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Literature Lapbooks

Originally posted at the National Writing For Children Center

Lapbooks are very popular in many homeschooling/educational circles, and for good reason. Children who create something tangible after reading a particular book or learning about a certain topic are far more apt to retain that knowledge. It is motivating to be able to hold in their hands or ‘on their laps’ their very own special reminder of their learning experience. Besides that—creating a lapbook is fun, and the educational and enjoyment possibilities are endless! However, for today, I will concentrate solely on lapbooks that are related to children’s literature and timeless picture books!

What Exactly Are Lapbooks?

Lapbooks can be as complex or unique as the fingerprints of those who make them! But the general definition of a simple lapbook is a single manila folder refolded and creased in such a way as to form a small, portable ‘learning center’ that can be opened and filled with mini activities, games, reports, charts, pictures, flip books, etc. inside that are created by the students themselves as they learn about the topic(s). In other words, a lapbook is a type of graphic organizer.

Families who enjoy scrapbooking will find lapbooking to be a perfect way to enhance learning—but anyone can create a lapbook that is interesting, fun, and effective. In addition, a lapbook can the organizer to pull together relevant topics from many subject areas—all based on one particular book.

Below is a lapbook we created based on the book The Little House by Virginia Lee Burton. Many of the printables were found at

Resources/Books About Lapbooking

Hear are a few websites and books that have great tutorials or information on how to create lapbooks:

*Homeschool Share (HSS) is an on-line cooperative effort of several homeschooling moms to provide free but quality literature-based unit studies and resources. The content on this site is unbelievable!

Lapbooks to Enhance the Learning Experience by Lynda Altman at Bright Hub Ms. Altman includes information on how lapbooks can be used in the classroom and at the high school level.

Fundamentals of Lapbooking by Carrie Kerr at Bright Hub This is another article showing how lapbooks can be used in the classroom.

Lapbooking for Everyone at Easy Fun School—This site includes lots of lapbooking links.

Lapbooking at Squidoo

Dinah Zike at Dinah-Might-Adventures

Big Book of Books and Activities – An Illustrated Guide for Teachers, Parents, and Anyone Who Works with Kids! By Dinah Zike

The Ultimate Lap Book Handbook by Tammy Duby and Cyndy Regeling

A Few Book Suggestions for Literature Lapbooks:

This is a very incomplete list of books that lend themselves well to lapbooking.

  • Mike Mulligan and His Steam Shovel

  • Katy and the Big Snow

  • Madeline

  • Little House on the Prairie series

  • If You Give a Mouse A Cookie

  • A Cricket In Times Square

  • The Courage of Sarah Noble

  • Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs

  • Goodnight Moon

  • Mirette on the High Wire

  • Mr. Popper’s Penguins

  • The Napping House

  • Little Toot

  • The Duchess Bakes a Cake

Authors and Lapbooks

In a previous article about Creating Learning Guides and Instructional Activities for Trade Books, I mentioned how authors should consider offering additional resources or learning guides for parents and teachers that can go along with their books and provide more learning opportunities for students. I now propose that authors/publishers should also consider offering printables, graphs, mini-booklets, activities, etc. along with their books that can be used for the purpose of creating lapbooks.

For example, check out Harper Collin’s book activity guide page for Good Night Moon. One industrious mom used this page to create a lapbook based on Margaret Wise Brown’s timeless classic. She also pulled together additional materials from here and here to make a very neat learning resource.

So whether you are a parent, teacher, or author, literature lapbooks just might figure into your future creative plans!

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