Publishing student books that last!

February 2, 2012

Publishing student books that last!

February 2, 2012
Hi everyone! We’ve been wrapping up our nonfiction reports and are in the final publishing stages (phew!). It’s been so fun to see how excited the students get when they see the final product!

We actually publish three to four books a year and I have tried a few different ways to make these books last. I mean, they really come out so beautifully and I hate to see them come apart over time.

One little thing that has worked really well is to laminate the stories. I use my little laminator at home (which I adore). I know it’s a bit pricey to buy those pockets, but I don’t mind for these big projects…the plastic is really strong and the pages can’t be bent so easily. The only downside is that it takes FOREVER to run those little sheets through. I’ve been working on this process for about five days now…I’m actually procrastinating right now by hanging out here, when I really should be laminating again. Nothing like writing about how great something is when you should be doing said thing instead. The beauty of teacher-blogging!

So, the laminating is something I’ve done for years–but there’s something way more exciting than that! And it’s going to solve a problem I’ve had for years!!

You know those comb bindings? The ones that look so nice when they are first attached, but start to come off the ends of the books as the kids are eagerly flipping through them? This usually takes place within the first five minutes of reading their treasured publications…

Then over time, the binding becomes bent and broken…

Well, it just hit me today! HOT GLUE!! (I am a trifle obsessed with hot glue. I use in on pretty much everything in the room…posters for the walls, signs on my plastic bins, anything I can’t really damage and that I want to last).

So I fired up my trusty glue gun and hot glued three of the prongs on one end of the binding…
And then the three prongs on the other end…
I pulled each prong up, put a dab of glue on it, then put the prong back under the comb thing where it’s supposed to be (but never stays!!). I didn’t burn myself either. I was very proud of that.

Looks a bit messy, but that’s on the backside of the book, so you don’t really see it and the front looks great…

And it works! I’ve pulled and tugged at it and those prongs haven’t budged! The middle ones are fine…they might pop up, but can be easily slipped back under the binding.

So I know it’s kind of lame, but I am SO excited about this! No more repairing book bindings for distraught authors!! I hope this will be helpful for a fellow hot-glue-nut out there! πŸ™‚

Do you use these bindings for student book publishing? If not, how do you publish your students’ work?


  • Kelley Cirrito February 2, 2012 at 1:55 am

    Love the idea!! We published lots of things last year and nothing ever held up. I can't wait to try this! The kids will love to see all their writing and read each others!

  • JJ February 2, 2012 at 1:56 am

    Wow! I love the idea! Students love to have their work published so they can read it over and over. It is a wonderful accomplishment for them. Sharing is the best thing to light up a students face and I'm sure your kids are all beaming lights. I commend you for the hard work, cost, and time. I know you must get great satisfaction in seeing your students happy faces. BRAVO!


  • Dianne February 2, 2012 at 1:59 am

    Great idea! I was just binding books today and I had my glue gun out too. I used it to fix my curtains! πŸ™‚

  • Karen February 2, 2012 at 2:02 am

    what a GREAT idea!!

  • Pat's Paper Passion February 2, 2012 at 2:04 am

    I always take mine to Staples or Office Max, but we only publish 2-3 books a year and they're pretty good size, since we make more of an anthology than individual books. I haven't found the binder at school big enough to tackle the job.

    A Time to Share & Create


    Fabulous 4th Grade

  • Kristin February 2, 2012 at 2:50 am

    I use these bindings all the time (I'm actually the queen of it and people come and bow down to me so that I will bind their books because they have no idea how to use the book binding machine). I'm so excited by this new trick — I am definitely going to give it a shot! I doubt I won't escaped unburned, though. πŸ™‚ Thanks for the great tip!
    A Teeny Tiny Teacher

  • Sarah February 2, 2012 at 3:27 am

    Great idea. Thanks for sharing. Isn't it funny how the solution is right under your nose sometimes?

  • Mrs. Cupcake February 2, 2012 at 3:51 am

    Looove hot glue! I've never even seen a book binding machine though.. yikes!!

    A Cupcake for the Teacher

  • Ms.M February 2, 2012 at 6:07 am

    Good idea. I am getting ready to make my students poetry books tomorrow. So perfect timing.

    Ms. M
    Ms.M's Blog
    A Teacher's Plan

  • Kate February 2, 2012 at 9:36 pm

    You are seriously the best teacher ever!!
    To The Square Inch

  • Miss Foote February 3, 2012 at 6:16 am

    What a fabulous tip!

    Chickadee Jubilee

  • Cooperative Learning 365 February 3, 2012 at 11:27 pm

    Great idea! Who would have thought hot glue would have so many uses :)!

  • Kim February 5, 2012 at 5:07 am

    Well I guess that is all the evidence we need…
    Your talents are infinite!

    Thanks, Kristen!

    Finding JOY in 6th Grade

  • Mrs. K May 24, 2012 at 12:30 am

    I love using the binder but I've also experienced the same issues. Thank for sharing this tip!

  • Ms. Pretzel June 27, 2012 at 11:41 pm

    Love this! I don't know if I'm disciplined enough to do this, but it's a great idea.

    We also use BARE books (they have a website) to publish our book. THe kids love it and they come in many sizes, different kinds of lined paper, etc.

    We also do the binding combs, but we only laminate the cover and then a back cover. It saves a LOT of time!

  • Second Grade on Parade August 26, 2012 at 3:48 am

    THANKS for the tip about the hot glue! I have comb-binded 8-pocket folders that I wanted to use this year for organizing student homework helpers but I just didn't know what I was going to do about the comb-binding because I knew it would start coming off the first day. I was thinking about the glue but I didn't want to glue all of those tabs! I didn't think about just securing the end ones. That is certainly more manageable. I also have pages for an alphabet book we created and I just need to get myself over to our binding machine to put it together! I will be using the comb-binder more often if this works out!

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