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How to Use Lapbooks to Enhance Learning
What is a Lapbook?
A lapbook is a wonderful hands-on learning tool that can be made in many different ways and on any topic imaginable. But what exactly is a lapbook?
Picture a notebook and a scrapbook mixed together to make something new. Lapbooks are made using file folders- usually refolded in a shutter-fold- and then filled with many different mini-books, flaps, folders, pockets, etc. Each of these mini-books is filled with information about your topic. A lapbook provides an interactive surface to apply the information being learned, which helps aid in retention and understanding of the topic.
Why do Kids Like Lapbooking?
Lapbooks are fun, bright and colorful. They involve the use of scissors and glue. Lapbooks also allow children to add their own individual flair to their work. Plus, the finished product is amazing and they will be proud of themselves and love to show off their work to family and friends.
What are the Educational Benefits of a Lapbbok?
- Children learn to research as they look for information to add to their lapbooks.
- New and reluctant writers are less intimidated by writing in mini-books as opposed to full sheets of blank paper.
- There is a built in review every time your child looks at their lapbook or shares it with others.
- Children become more excited about learning when it comes alive. There is something about lifting flaps and tiny books that makes everything more fun and enjoyable!
- There are no limits on lapbooks. You can choose any topic, go as in-depth as you wish, and children of all ages can benefit and use this way of learning.
How to Lapbook Effectively:
While there is no right or wrong way to create lapbooks, I do have a few pointers in order to get the most educational gains out of your lapbooking.
- Don't do it all for your child. I see a lot of premade lapbooks that lack the research aspect. The mini-books are all premade (which can be really helpful!) but all of the answers are also included. Part of lapbooking should be reading and searching for answers and information. The child must own the work in order to learn from it, otherwise it just becomes busy work.
- Plan ahead of time and make a list of what information you want your child to learn and retain at the end of your unit. Each of these topics can be used as a mini-book within the lapbook.
- Allow your child to do as much of the writing himself. Research has shown that there is a connection between the brain and the hand and information is better retained when you write it down.
- Don't be a slave to the lapbook and the minibooks. Think of them as an addition to a unit, not as a stand alone. As you go through your unit if study- make things,do projects and experiments, take pictures, play games- then add all of these to the lapbook at the end.
- Allow for freedom of expression. Remember this is your child's work. Let them decorate and arrange the lapbook as they wish. It's okay if the books are perfectly lined up and the cover art isn't what you would like. The more you push for perfection, the less your child will enjoy the experience- and the love of learning is something every child should have.