Monday, November 23, 2009

What is a lapbook, and why would I want one?

A completed lapbook can be compared to a child's pop-up book or a lift-the-flap book. These types of books often generate more enthusiasm among elementary aged kids than simple text. Tactile learners respond well to the interaction involved in making and looking at a lapbook.

Lapbooks are made by children, with varying degrees of parental assistance. They serve to reinforce what the child is learning, much as a worksheet is designed to do.

Are you a parent who enjoys scrapbooking? Then you will probably enjoy lapbooking with your children.

Lapbooking can be a regular part of your curriculum, an occasional diversion, or a once-in-a-lifetime experience.

Since 2001, my kids have created a lapbook almost every week. The completed books are stored in magazine files. By the end of the school year, we have collected around thirty lapbooks per child, each containing a record of the child's study for that week.

Besides reinforcing study material and providing a record, lapbooks effortlessly incorporate review into your program. My children are eager to share the contents of their lapbooks with friends and family. Each time they do this, they are reviewing the material contained in the lapbook! I've never seen them grab a textbook or worksheet to show off when Grandma knocks at the door, but it's a regular occurence with their lapbooks. (Thanks for your patience, Mom!)

Lapbooks provide an easy-to-use reference for young children, too. Can't remember the difference between a reptile and an amphibian? If they've lapbooked it, chances are they'll know right where to find what they need. My kids naturally go to their lapbooks to retrieve information.

Most lapbooks use a file folder as a base. The child collects information studied in small "minit books" that he then glues into the file folder. The process is fun and the result is attractive and useful.

Minit books can be made from scratch or borrowed from other generous lapbookers who have posted printable versions of their own designs on websites that feature homeschool resources. Possibilities are virtually endless. One example is a tab book where the student writes one fact about the material studied under each of four tabs. This is far less daunting to a young writer than a vast expense of white paper needing to be filled with his words.

Still not sure what a lapbook is? I wasn't either, until I saw a few that others had created. One of my daughters' Thanksgiving lapbooks is showcased in the video below.

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