Let's talk about class books! I love class books, and so do my students. These books are always, hands-down, the most popular books during the students' free choice reading time.
I like to use class books to help my students develop and continue to practice good work habits. Translation: they are a great way to encourage your students to work neatly. Before we make a book, we always talk about who will be reading the book. We talk about the other books we have read (printed books that have clear and easy to read text) to help clarify the importance of making sure their contribution to the class book is user friendly. Knowing that their peers will be looking at the books often, reminds the students to slow down and turn in a quality piece of work. This also encourages them to take ownership of their learning and to take pride in their work.
Next year, I plan to start my year by making class books. It's the perfect way to give my students practice with the quality of work expectations I will set forth the first week of school.
Class books also encourage students to read! My students always love to read what their peers have written and illustrated. I watch them read these books and laugh and smile. I watch them get "Sally's" attention to let her know that they are reading her page. In this sense, the books also help to build a sense of community within the classroom!
They are also a great way to showcase learning. We recently wrapped up a mini unit on collective nouns. As part of our study, we made a class book. Each student illustrated a collective noun phrase (a bunch of grapes, a gaggle of geese and so on). It's been a hit ever since it hit the shelves, so to speak.
We have also made class books that showcase our knowledge and understanding of multiple meaning words and using polite manners.
Since these books are so popular, I want them to be easily accessible. So, I store them in a bin like this.
So, what to do with those books at the end of the year? Well, you could raffle them off to your students during the last week of school. Or, if you have a classroom economy, your students could buy them with their classroom dollars. Or, you could save them for the following year for your new batch of students to enjoy. Even though their classmates may not have made the books, your new students will still enjoy reading content that was created by other kids.