Ideas for Making a Book as a School Project
Creating a book as a school project gives students a chance to practice writing, editing, art, and organizational skills. Producing a book is also an excellent way to generate interest in reading. It is similar to the effect of having children help you cook. They are more likely to eat what they have helped to cook. Children become engaged by the process and interested in the result. Use any of these ideas to generate motivation for honing reading and writing skills.
Ideas for book projects. Each idea listed below could be assigned to an individual student. Some of the ideas also work well for small groups of students. Encourage students to invent clever, engaging titles to headline their books about one of these suggested topics.
- The “Green” Book. Have students create a book documenting the school’s effort to use less energy, improve the environment, or create a green space. Alternatively, each student could document similar efforts in their home or town.
- The “How To” Book. Have each student pick something they are interested in doing and write and illustrate a book on the topic. Everything from stamp collecting, sports, animal care, crafting, carpentry, car care, and so on is fair game.
- The “Grandpa” Book. Have students interview their grandparents or folks in a senior center about their life as a teenager. You may wish to provide a list of questions, but have your students generate at least 10 or so questions of their own. The book should include a short background of the person interviewed, three to five memories of what it was like to be a teenager when they grew up, and any wisdom they felt they learned along the way.
- The “Poetry Collection” Book. Have each student contribute a poem and an illustration for the book. You can set a theme for the poetry or let students write about what is on their minds. The illustrations could be hand-drawn, painted, computer graphics, collages, or photographs.
- The “Comic” Book. Have students create a six-part series of four-box comic strips like the ones that run in the daily papers. Each series should tell a complete story. Illustrations can be hand- or computer-drawn.
- The “You Name It Cookbook”. Have your students collect recipes of their favorite dishes. Several different approaches might be used – recipes from different ethnic backgrounds of the student population, teacher’s recipes, favorite potluck recipes from the student’s families, best dessert recipes, favorite tailgate recipes for the high school football games, and so on. Recipe accuracy can be tested in the home economics kitchen, if available.
- The “Nature” Book. If part of the curriculum is exploring the natural world, have students take photographs of the flora or fauna involved and write up short fact sheet presentations about it. The write-up might include: common name, scientific name, where it is found, how big it grows, interesting details about the plant or animal. A trip to a zoo might be helpful for studying exotic animals or a botanical garden is a good choice if plants are the subject.
- The “Why Photo” Book. Take twenty pictures and explain why each photograph was selected.
The resulting books can be hand-bound. For “how-to” information, check out my article titled “Bookbinding by Hand”. Alternatively, the book can be sent to a commercial printer and be professionally bound. Some printers offer special printing programs for students. One example is the “Aspiring Authors” program by lulu.com. In either case, your students will have a lasting keepsake of a fun, perhaps even zany, project where they let their creative juices flow. And they were learning all the time – who could ask for more than that?