Family Friday

How to Make an Accordion-Fold “My Story” Book

The co-founder of Montgomery County community action group Brothers With Books, Isaac Cudjoe says: “When young people tell [co-founder] Kevin and I that they don’t like reading, what they’re telling me is actually they haven’t found a book that reminds them of themselves.” Sometimes, as a parent or caregiver, it can be hard to know what kinds of books your kids would like to read more of. Try asking them to write their own book to get some ideas about what books to look for.

STEP 1: GATHER MATERIALS

The supplies are simple:

  • One standard 8.5”x11” sheet of paper
  • Small amount of thicker paper, cardstock, or cardboard
  • Scissors
  • Ruler
  • Glue or tape
  • Marker or something else to write with
  • Crayons or something else to color with
Paper scissors and crayons, supplies

STEP 2: MAKE THE PAGES

Cut your piece of paper in half lengthwise so that you have two long pieces of paper. Fold each piece of paper in half, then fold the ends in to touch in the middle. Unfold. The creases should leave you with four rectangles for each piece of paper. Glue the two pieces together and re-fold to make one long accordion fold. If you’d like to make your story longer, you can repeat to make a thicker stack of pages.

Pictures of the folding process

STEP 3: CUT AND GLUE THE COVERS

Measure two rectangles sized 3” x 4.5” out of any thicker piece of paper or light cardstock. An old file folder will do nicely. Glue these two cover pieces to the ends of your accordion-folded pages.

Cardboard covers
Glued pages

STEP 4: WRITE THE STORY

Now it’s time for your child to title, write, and decorate their story. They can be creative as they like. Maybe they have a story they’re just waiting to write, an idea that’s been on their minds. For a younger child, consider creating prompts they can fill out themselves: Perhaps they’d like to draw themselves and their family in a self-portrait, or write or draw about their favorite sport or hobby. Where would they like to travel? What’s their favorite food or class at school?


STEP 5: READ THEIR BOOK

Read your child’s book aloud, or ask them to read it to you. Use what they wrote to spark ideas about what your child might like to read. You can ask your local children’s librarian for more ideas.

STEP 6: LEARN MORE

Experts agree that representation in children’s literature makes a difference. Children will be more excited to read if they can find characters who look like them and reflect their lived experiences. Look at this list of children’s books from Reading Partners written by diverse authors for some ideas, and learn more about Brothers With Books. Brothers With Books is fighting for equity, helping improve access, and cultivating literacy in Montgomery County, MD.