Friday, April 11, 2014

Lapbook Learning

Have you ever tried using lapbooks as a way to help your students learn new material?  Last year was my first time giving them a try and I am sold on the benefits of lapbooks.  
As you can see I love making them and one of my coworkers even refers to me as the "Lapbook Lady".  

What are some of the benefits?

1.  One of the main benefits I have found from using lapbooks is that they easily allow for differentiated instruction.  So many of the fold-its are open ended activities that allow students to show what they know and work to the best of their ability.  You may have one student who will write only a few words or sentences on a topic, while another student will write many sentences and even include diagrams.  What I really like is that all students can work on the same fold-it and no one stands out. 
Weather Lapbook

2.  Another benefit of lapbooks is that they keep all materials together in one place.  Before using lapbooks I often had many handouts and booklets that I would copy for my students to use.  I found that many of my students would lose their sheets and then spent time looking for them which would often delay the start of our class.  The lapbooks because they are bigger are much easier for students to find.  I always make them on legal size file folders so that are longer than most other materials in their desks.  I usually collect in the lapbooks and store them at the front of the class in a plastic container so they are even quicker to pass out.  For me using lapbooks has been a real instructional time saver.
Fraction File
3.  In addition, lapbooks are a great reference tool for students.  In my math class, I like to use a math workshop model and I have found that in order for students to be able to complete work independently at their desks while I am working with a small group they benefit from having some sort of reference tool.  This is where having access to their lapbook on a particular topic saves the day.  I find that instead of students approaching me to ask a question they can look for the answer in their lapbook.

What's The Matter?
4.  Lapbooks are very parent friendly.  This was an added benefit I discovered from using lapbooks in my classroom.  Parents found them helpful when studying with their children.  They felt that all important concepts and definitions were easily located in one place.  At parent teacher conferences I had many parents say how it helped them to know exactly what their child was learning about in school.  Not only have lapbooks helped my students prepare for upcoming unit assessments but I have also been able to use them as a piece of assessment for my own records. 

Also, many parents commented on how great they thought the lapbooks were as a keepsake for their child.  I know on curriculum night my students were so proud of their finished lapbooks and parents loved that they got to take them home. 

End of Year  Memory Lapbook

5.  The final benefit would have to be that lapbooks make learning fun.  I find my students are so much more engaged in their learning since I started using lapbooks.  Making the lapbooks is a hands on activity that is great for the kinesthetic learner.

Why not give give them a try!  You can find some of the ones I created here.  I would love to hear about your experiences with using lapbooks.


  1. I've noticed that a lot of US teachers seem to use lapbooks, something that I've never seen here in Scotland. What grade would you start using them?

  2. Hi Lisa,

    I teach in Canada and I only discovered them last year myself. I have been using them with my grade five students but I have had comments from teachers in grade two and three who love using them as well. For younger students you may need to provide them with lines on the fold-its to help guide their printing. My grade fives can work independently on making the lapbooks but if I was to use them in a lower grade I think it would be helpful to enlist the help of a parent volunteer.


    1. Just as I thought, thanks for the clarification. Your post got me thinking about what I could be doing with lapbooks.......Thanks for sharing!

  3. I've seen lapbooks on Pinterest before. I've never used them, but after your post I'm interested in trying them. Do you make one for each student? Do YOU make them, or do your students make them? I teach kindergarten, and am wondering how they would turn out if my little guys assembled them.

  4. Hi there,

    I teach grade 5 so I have each student make their own lapbook. I make a model one first on a color file folder and then I give each student their own manilla file folder. Usually, I demonstrate how to make one or two of the foldables and then the students complete their own. They will refer to the model lapbook for proper placement and I find they help each other. I think that if you use lapbooks in the primary grades you would have to help with the assembling. If you had parent volunteers that could come into your class that would be a great help as well.


  5. Hi! I have been reading a lot of about lap books and think it would benefit my 3rd graders quite a bit. One question, where do you find the content to put in the lap books? Silly question, I know but I just want to be clear before I begin to implement it in my classroom! Thank you!

  6. Hi Jessica,

    I have a science curriculum that I follow so my students have a textbook that they can use. I have found the textbooks are not that student friendly and that is why I created the lapbooks in the first place. I have found that it makes any topic easier for students to learn because they contain just the important content and are not too busy for students to look at. I also use the internet and books from Scholastic to help complete the lapbooks.
    I hope this helps.