3. Creating books

Producing books that the pupils have written and made not only enhances their self-esteem, but also provides you with welcome classroom resources.

This part builds on the idea of a Big Book in Module 1, Section 5 [Tip: hold Ctrl and click a link to open it in a new tab. (Hide tip)] . It suggests that you motivate your pupils to bring their writing and drawing to a final stage by putting together a book. This can be shared with others in the class, or with a person, group or school in another place.

You need to think about how to plan and organise an activity like this. You will need to think about the kind of book to make (e.g. folding book), the visuals and layout of the book, and the type of book (e.g. songbook, storybook or non-fiction book).

You will need to think about the resources needed and where to get them. You may have to involve pupils in collecting some of these before you actually start the work in class. This kind of planning and preparation is vital if your classroom is to be effective in helping pupils learn (see Key Resource: Being a resourceful teacher in challenging circumstances).

Case Study 3: Making a class book

Mrs Umar, who teaches a class of 44 Primary 5 pupils in Sokoto, wanted to encourage them as writers and readers and so decided to make books with them in their additional language of English.

She told them that she wished to start a collection of books for the class and it would only grow if they produced some of their own books. They discussed what kinds of books they liked to read and she listed these on the board. The list included stories, poems, and books about sports and clothes. She then asked the class to form small groups of no more than six people interested in a particular kind of book.

Mrs Umar discussed with each group what kind of book they were going to write. One group decided to work in smaller groups of three to produce two sports books, one about football and the other about running. Another group wanted to write a storybook based on a traditional tale. Mrs Umar gave the groups time to plan their outlines before asking them to share their ideas with the rest of the class. The class gave feedback to each group. Over the next week, Mrs Umar gave the groups lesson time as well as homework time to work on their writing.

As each group finished their drafts, Mrs Umar read these through and gave feedback on ways to improve their books. The final drafts were completed over the next week and were put on display for the whole class to read.

Key Activity: Creating a book to share

  • Suggest to your class that they make a book for their partner school (or for another purpose), containing songs, recipes and other local information. If you have a recipe book, show it to them. Some recipe books include pictures, information and stories about places and people related to the recipes.
  • Decide which songs or recipes they will include and how they will be presented.
  • Decide together what else will be in the book. See Resource 4: Songs and stories about processes – similar songs and stories could be included. Poems or descriptions from activities in Section 2 and Section 4 could be included. Think about illustrations, photographs, instructions for local games, stories or poems.
  • Plan with your pupils who will do each piece of work, who will edit the work and when each task should be completed. (Module 2, Section 5, Resource 1: How stories are made into books tells how a book is put together by different people.)
  • Carry out the plan. If possible, make copies of the book, so that you can keep one and send one to your partner school. Ask your partner school if they can send you a book they have made, too.

Where resources are limited, recycled paper, old calendars, newspapers and magazines are materials you may be able to gather locally for making books. For further ideas, see Key Resource: Being a resourceful teacher in challenging circumstances.

Resource 1: Pen-pals