Today I am excited to share a fun way to teach children to create a book report about a fairy tale- by creating a “lapbook” that serves as a graphic organizer and castle craftivity at the same time! This is a wonderful project to do for display for a parent visitation night, such as Open House, or to create as a culminating project to show what children have learned. I displayed ours last year that my first and second graders created in my combination class, along with their princess, knight, beanstalk, and castle craftivities! Basically, the whole room was decorated with fairy tale themed projects, and it looked wonderful! (Keep reading for some freebies & samples!!!)
Just in case you are not familiar, a “lapbook” is kind of like making a piece of an interactive notebook on a file folder! It usually has pop-ups, windows that open, things that spin, etc. It’s fun and motivational, and we placed our fairy tale book reports right in the middle of our lapbooks!
The book report itself is scaffolded from beginning to end to help children through the process just in case they have never done a book report before. I found that helping the children through the process step by step is very important in helping them be successful! I have written out all of the instructions so that you will know exactly how I did this, just in case you would like to do the same. 🙂 The process can be duplicated for any book report, whether or not you choose to do a lapbook with it.
Fairy Tale Book Report Lapbook Instructions
Copy all of the foldable masters onto colored cardstock and cut them apart. I chose to use multiple colors, and then let my kids choose. Many of them were excited to mix and match their favorite colors!
Copy the writing paper onto regular weight copy paper, either white or colored. I used white.
Pre-fold the file folders as shown in the photos. The edges of the folders need to be folded in to touch the center fold.
You may wish to begin reading some fairy tales to your students before they begin doing their own book reports as well! Be sure to discuss what the plot and the moral of the story is to help them figure these things out later on their own.
Step One: Read and Do a Practice Book Report Together
I suggest that you read a fairy tale aloud and practice doing a book report in front of them. I have provided a cloze style type of “fill in the blank” report for them to practice on for this purpose. This was MUCH easier for the children that were struggling with writing, but they needed guidance on what would they would put in the blanks.
Step Two: Read!
I suggest that you give the children a chance to read their books and just enjoy them first. If you do not have enough books, you may need to read some books aloud and then put the children in groups to reread together, sharing the books. Ask them to read the books twice through before you have them look for any information at all! Otherwise in my experience, some reluctant readers may try to skip reading the entire book and simply search for the required information instead.
Step Three: Research
Have the children search for the specific information needed for their book reports in their books. You can do this by having them use sticky notes, or use the graphic organizer provided. I used sticky notes and put a list on the board of items for them to find. After I gave each child a small stack of sticky notes, they had to find all of those items and write them on the notes, then leave those notes on the pages where they found that information. The list of things for them to find matched what they needed to fill in on their lapbooks exactly, and also was what I wanted them to put into their reports.
The information that the children need to find to complete these reports includes:
– Beginning (what happened at the beginning, etc.)
– Main Character: his or her occupation, and three character traits. (A list of traits is included to make this a little easier!)
– Another character: his or her occupation, and three character traits.
– Facts: Fiction or nonfiction? Genre, Number of pages.
– Opinion: Give one word to describe the book and tell why you think so. “I think this book is fantastic because…”
– Recommendation: Who would you recommend this book to, and why? “I would recommend this book to _____ because…”
– Plot: Tell what the book is about in just a couple of sentences. Don’t give away the ending!
– Moral: What lesson is the author trying to teach?
(Caution teachers: Start helping your kids find the moral of stories and verbalizing the plot with books you read aloud to them to make this easier!)
Step Four: Transfer the Sticky Note Facts to the Graphic Organizer Lapbook Pieces
The lapbook itself functions as a graphic organizer for the children to help them write their report, and does double duty as a great way to collect and display the information that they have found! (I used them to display for Open House as well!)
On the fourth day of instruction, have the children transfer the information they found over to the lapbooks. I did NOT have them cut anything out or do ANY of the artwork or drawings on the lapbooks until they had the information written. I emphasized that they were to write in complete sentences, but a few of them managed to finish without doing so. Depending on the abilities and personality of the child, I let some of them go and others I asked to erase and fix it into complete sentences. The advantage of having them write in complete sentences is that when they are ready to write their report, they should only have to transfer those sentences over to their writing paper! But getting some of the slower workers to persevere and finish it was the trick. Not all of the children finished with this task on the second day.
If you are working in small groups, you may want to let the children cut out each piece once the writing is done on each one. I handed my kids the scissors after they wrote on each piece, and then they put each piece into a large zip bag with their name on it. This helped IMMENSELY in keeping everything organized! I also had them put their names on the backs of each piece.
Recommended: If it bothers you that some children are ahead of the others, do not begin having them go on to the next step until everyone has caught up on this part.
Step Five: Glue in the Graphic Organizer Pieces
Assuming that they already cut out the pieces as they were writing, then they will just need to glue them in down in the correct positions. Depending on the skills of your class, you may wish to have them do this in small groups. Pulling your neediest children into a small group with you, and then letting the rest of the class work at their desks should also help. Keep in mind that the window “covers” or doors are tricky to glue in because they have flaps and will need to be carefully folded. One teacher at my school decided to forgo the window covers and only have her class glue down the parts underneath. I taped down the drawbridge and castle spires for the children myself.
Step Six: Write the Report
Once all of the information is on the graphic organizers, then all they have to do is write it into a report in complete sentences! And, if the pieces are all glued down in the order shown, everything should be in the correct order for the children to simply copy it down into a nice coherent book report. However, I also provided an outline for them to follow which told them which information came when. The top half of my class was able to do this easily with no problem at all. The bottom half did better sitting with me at a table in a small group, so that I could answer questions as they came up. Other than that, they were okay to just keep writing along! The hardest thing was to keep them writing NEATLY, LOL!
Step Seven: Decorate the Lapbook
When the report itself is written, the children can begin coloring in the lapbook pieces! I let them use markers if they like, and that is always fun.
Step Eight: Make the Doors for the Cover
There are two different types of castle doors that the children can make for their report cover. One is a metal door with bars, and the other is a big wooden door. Both of them have a space for the title. My kids especially enjoyed coloring the door on the front, making a picture of their characters behind the bars, etc.
Be careful when you glue down the doors! It is tempting to put glue all over the door and lay it down on the closed folder. If you let the children do this, then of course the folder won’t open! I had the children bring their folder to me, and I put glue on ONE side. I laid the door (already colored) on the side with the glue, and then carefully cut the other side of the door out along the edge of the folder. Then together we glued down the other piece of the door. MAKE SURE YOU LEAVE SPACE FOR THE TITLE ABOVE THE DOOR!
Note: You may wish to do a lesson in guided drawing to help the children do a little better on the covers! 🙂
Step Nine: Type the Title for the Cover!
Using whatever kind of technology you have, have the children type the title of their reports and their names. Then they will need to print it out. I had a volunteer cut them on the paper cutter and glue them on.
Naturally, if you would rather have them simply write it by hand, you can do this too! I chose to have them type it in order to meet the Common Core Standard of using technology for publishing. Of course, it would be even better if you have them type up and “publish” the entire report, but that’s up to you!
Dragon Guided Drawing
Paper Plate Spiral Beanstalk
For more fairy tale ideas, check out my board on Pinterest!!
P.S. Have you noticed our Number Jumble DVD now includes numbers 11-30?? For just $10 more, so $25, we added 20 more songs!! 🙂 Check it out some of the new songs!!!
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