March 30, 2012


Word peeps . . . my Earth Day unit still in the works, but here's a little something to tide you over.  Last year when I taught Kinder I ran mini-books as one of my constant reading center rotations (from about mid-March on).  This was a spin off of an idea from one of my very dear friends, Carol.  She was the bomb-diggity at good old Evergreen.  
On Mondays my kids were given an overall mini book topic and a basic cloze sentence to copy and finish.  They usually completed about 1.5 pages per day and finished up their books by the end of Friday rotations.

When I first started this activity I ran with topics such as My Brag Book that offered up the cloze, "I can __________."  By the time we rounded the final bend into late May and early June, the kids were given tougher topics like My Verb Book with the cloze "I know __________ is a verb."  The kids always looked forward to this station . . . they took such pride in being an author :). 

I have offered up a downloadable cover and book pages for you.  One is easier (perfect for Kinder) and the other is a bit lengthier (a fun writing activity for 1st graders . . . gonna let my kids run without a cloze this year).  You can find detailed directions and the templates below.   

  1. Copy a class set of the cover pages and cut to size.  
  2. Copy a class set of the book page template (back to back) and fold down the center.  Be sure you show them which page to start on . . . remind them how you open a book.  I made the mistake of overlooking this frontloading opportunity!!!
  3. Write your cloze sentence on the board and host a discussion related to your chosen topic.  You may choose to just discuss a topic if you are teaching first.  
  4. Writing can be done as a whole class activity or in a small group setting.  As student complete each sentence cloze (or page), they illustrate it.  
  5. When all four pages are complete, attach a construction paper cover to the front of each student's book.  I was lucky enough to have a book stapler (thanks again Carol), so my construction paper wrapped around their pages like a book jacket.
  6. Have your students glue a cover illustration page (see photo above) to the front of the book.  This is where the kids write the title and sign their name on the author line.  Finally, they illustrate their cover.
  7. DO NOT miss out on the opportunity to host an author's chair with these.  The kids would beg me to do it . . . they never let me miss.  To save time, I had them buddy read.  They would partner up and read their stories aloud.  I usually had them trade partners two more times. (See photos/templates below!)

First Grade Template

Kinder Template

(to glue on the front of the book)


  1. I have been looking for something just like this! Thanks for the freebie!

  2. Kelley,
    I use booklets like this in my writing center but I just had blank paper for the cover. I think having a title and author line will help those that forget their name! Thanks!
    Finally in First

  3. These are so versatile! Thanks for sharing! :)

    Mrs. Heeren's Happenings

  4. I do these same books. Each one is an All About Me but on different topics ( ie. My Family, My Pet, My Favorite Birthday Party) I make folders for each student to store all the books for Open House we set them out. You can make little pocket style folders to house the books. Thanks for the blacklines.

    1. I love that you saved them for Open House. I always sent them home at the end of the week . . . a collection of those would have been fantastic. Thanks for poppin' in :)

  5. This is going to be perfect! With thanks!



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