Booklet Binding

Booklet Binding

Booklet Binding PDF is a 13 page banner that represents the steps in putting together a simple, handsome binding for the kind of books that children age 5 to 9 write. The most use I have made is for personal summaries of project work, the representation passage of the Learning Frame.

Children have to have the ability to cut on a straight line across a piece of paper and some experience with a paper stapler. The purpose of making step charts is to provide an opportunity for a group of children to help each other solve all the problems they encounter, without having the physical assistance of an adult. With a step chart that is informed by the adult demonstrating each step and referring to the illustration of that step. the adult should be able to provide verbal reminders or point out information in the illustration and not need to touch the children’s work. The other children who see the demonstration and have figured out how to do a step are actually the best teachers.

Scoring paper before folding is a key skill here.


The PDF prints out individual pages that have to be taped together to make the banner. I tape each page of the instructions side by side, in order, to make a long, accordion folded unit that goes up on the wall somewhere. The title page goes first follow by the numbered steps. To tape them, I lay them out face down in the proper order (backwards, right to left) and tape the back first, then tape the front. I have had less mistakes that way.

As you can imagine making a booklet with a hard binding is a long, multi-step sequence but possible after a demonstration and help from classmates. One learns by doing.


The goal is for learners to bind a book of unique dimensions, enclosing a number of pages that a stapler can grasp, by themselves, with little adult help. Expect them to turn to classmates, to the chart, to the example book created in the demonstration, and to models of past books.

Demonstration — Do — Review

Demonstration: I point to a step on the banner, read the words printed there, and immediately demonstrate that step making an example booklet before their eyes. I emphasize that the schematic is a reminder for them. I also demonstrate mistakes, cutting things wrong for example, to lessen the fear of doing something wrong.

Do: The learners have all the materials they need available to them. If a person needs help, they ask a peer first, look at the pictured sequence, or look at the example book. If that doesn’t work then the task is too difficult — beyond the Zone of Proximal Development.

Review: Later, often the next session, the group reviews the sequence of steps in the chart and discusses the problems encountered. Taking the time to process that experience ensures that the experience of risks and mistakes stays with them. The reflection is a lesson in how to learn how to learn, like teaching a hungry man how to fish, so they no longer are dependent on other’s gifts.


I use 2-dot chipboard for the stiff cover material. I have used a local art store. Frame shops may have the centers of mats available for free. You can use any light, non-corrugated cardboard that is stiff enough, at least somewhat heavier than the tagboard used in file folders.

Note. The yellow and brown in the pictures are not intended to be the colors one has to use; those colors distinguish the inside from the outside papers. The covers can be in any color, decorated, painted, printed, stamped, etc. The effort to use or make aesthetic paper for the binding is what makes a book valuable to keep.

Right at the beginning the person doing the binding has to decide which they want for the outside and which for the inside. Inside and outside could be the same, too, of course.


The size of the booklet cover depends upon the page size to be bound. I recommend adding 1″ (or 2 cm) to the height of the page size and 1/2″ (or 1 cm) to the width of the page size to compute the cover size.

Scoring Skill

Scoring the fold line helps immeasurably to accurate folding. To score paper, make a very shallow impression on the paper surface with the point of the scissors or a dull knife, running along a straight edge guide. The stiffening card itself can be the straight edge for this. If the score cuts too deeply, the paper will not hold together, so practice might be necessary. People have to make mistakes in order to learn to do it correctly. Proper scoring makes the folding accurate and neat.

Step-chart Activities