Starting to build a collection of class books right from the first week of school has several advantages.
* You're getting an early start on building a classroom community. Your students will get to know one another and you will learn more about them, too, from their likes and dislikes to their handwriting and spelling strengths and needs!
* As your students contribute to a whole class project, they will see that you give equal value and importance to each of their contributions, bolstering the confidence of the less secure little ones.
* Class books can help you quickly build a collection of books that will be readable for every student in your class.
* Reading class books is a great way to introduce buddy reading procedures. Because the text will be very familiar to both of the readers, neither will feel at a disadvantage, and your teaching focus can shift to appropriate student behaviors for buddy reading.
The earliest class books can be built on common experiences, such as responses to a read-aloud:
" I see a ____________ ______________ looking at me" is a favorite we've probably all done.
How about the experiences your students bring from ouside the classroom? Families, homes, and personal favorites are all the basis for many class book ideas.
There are a number of ways to bind your class projects into books. I used to think that laminating every page was kind of wasteful. but I changed my mind. These books will get lots of use and need to last all year! Once laminated, one of the most durable ways to bind is with a binder (like a GBC) and plastic combs. Pages can also be holepunched and then secured with looseleaf rings, chicken rings, or even with string or pipecleaners. Another idea is to use portfolio folders, widely available at ridiculously low prices for back to school. Cut the cover page to size and tape on the front, holepunch
each student page, and simply put them in the folder as if you were assembling a report.
After you've assembled a large enough collection, you may want to start sending books home with a different child each night to read to their families. I staple a page inside the back cover for parents to write a short comment. The kids all get to bask in the praise! :)
Here's a free book to help you get started on your first class book project.
If you're looking for more books for your class to make together, I hope that you'll consider this collection of five back to school class books at my TPT and TN stores. Each book includes a cover, student template (printable in color ot grayscale), and a related data collection activity.