Around here, summer is a time for some of our favorite things - homemade ice cream, hot-day swimming, catching fireflies at night, and sleeping in. It’s also typically the time when we dive in deep to one author’s body of work in a Summer Author Study. Last summer it was Kevin Henkes, the summer before that, Mo Willems.
One of the many benefits of an author study is that it helps kids view authors as real people…ones who have a personality and a style that is revealed in their work. And one of the natural extensions of THAT realization is that kids view writing as a way to express their own feelings and ideas.
So, rather than doing an author study this summer, we’re taking time to concentrate on our own writing. We’re setting up an Author Center loaded with irresistible supplies to fuel creativity, and we’re spending time focusing on how the books we read might inspire our own writing.
One of my favorite Author Center ingredients is a batch of freshly-made blank books. You may have seen how we make our Teeny Tiny Accordion books; another favorite is a step book. Is there an official name for this kind of book? We call it a step book because if you lay the pages out next to each other, they look like stair STEPS.
If you’ve ever read Planting a Rainbow by Lois Ehlert or The Odd Egg by Emily Gravett, you’ve seen some great examples of step books. When I made a sample step book and asked my kids what kinds of writing they might want to use it for, they came up with lots of great ideas: a small-to-big story (where a character grows or a new character is introduced on each page), a “week in the life” book, a research book about a favorite animal….the list went on and on.
I made a printable to help you make some step books of your own. Inside, you’ll find:
- complete directions for making a step book (plus some fun options to add your own style)
- our five best ideas for what to do with your step book
- some prewriting sheets so that you can “practice” your step book before you make your final copy
I hope you make some step books for your family this summer. If you do, will you let us know how you use them? You can post pictures on Instagram (tag us @rubyreadsbooks and use #rubyreads_minibooks), or you can send pictures to us directly via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org. We love to hear from you!