Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Summer Blog Party: Revving Up Writing

Four years ago, I came across a pin on Pinterest about publishing student writing for free.  FREE?!  I was pretty intrigued and thought, "Nothing is for free.  There must be a catch."  Turns out, I was wrong.  It's actually free!

First of all, writing is definitely is a weakness of mine.  I have never been fond of writing, so I haven't really enjoyed teaching it.  But I can honestly say that I get super excited about writing when I introduce my students to Student Treasures every year.  It gets me excited, which in turn gets my students excited.  Plus, it's an awesome way to teach the writing process.

Student Treasures Publishing is a company located in Topeka, Kansas.  They are dedicated to developing a product that delights schools, teachers, students, and parents.  Their 8.5 x 11 hardbound books (with the option of landscape or portrait orientation) are printed in full-color and includes archival papers, the author's name and title on the book spine, and a dedication and title page.  Can you guess who the authors are??......Yep, your students!

It is very simple to participate in this program.  First, order the student publishing kit(s) online, by phone, fax, or email.  Once you request your kit(s), you will reserve a press date for when you want to complete the book.  Student Treasures offers two types of kits that you can order; Classbook Kit (this one is FREE), and Individual Book Kit.  Individual Book Kits are recommended for grades three and up.  There is a minimal cost of $9.95 per kit.  The cost of the kit includes the student publishing kit, the binding of each manuscript into the hardbound book, and shipping to and from your school.   This kit gives each individual student the opportunity to create an entire book, showcasing their original writing and artwork.  I have not had any of my students create an individual book yet (particularly because it costs money).

Keep reading....I'm getting to the "free" part.....

This past year was my 4th year creating a classroom book using the Classbook Kit.  Classroom books are recommended for all grades.  It allows students to collaborate on a "collective" book that features original artwork and writing from each member of the class.  And it's FREE!

The kits contain everything you need to complete your classbook (a sample book created by students like yours, 66 manuscript pages-33 for text and 33 for illustration, kit envelope with easy to follow instruction, and order forms for parents).  Once you've completed your kit, you are ready to ship it off to become a hardbound book.  Using the prepaid UPS label that was inside your kit and the box your kit came in, you send it back to the company for a turn-around of two weeks.  It's as easy as that!

Sample books from Student Treasures
It's awesome for your students to see their own writing and artwork turned into an actual book. Publishing your student's writing can strengthen their self-esteem and improve language skills for a lifetime.  But only have one hardbound book!  Don't worry......inside your kit, there are slips that you can send home that offer parents the opportunity to purchase reprints.  Parents are under no obligation to purchase.  Over the past 4 years, I have had so many parents purchase reprints as Christmas or birthday presents and they've been completely satisfied with the quality of their child's keepsake.

There is so much more that you can explore on their website.  Every year, Student Treasures offers a National Book Challenge where you can win $1,000 and they offer several $100 Grant Giveaways.  There is a "teacher's lounge" located at the top of the website that offers a lot of resources to teachers.  Such as "how to videos," common core lesson plans & worksheets, teacher guides, book topic ideas, writing activities, writing/editing/illustration tips, and much more!

Here are a few pictures of my own students' work.  Like I said early, I have made 4 classbooks over the past 4 years.  Every year has been enjoyable and I look forward to creating another one this upcoming year.
Picture 1-All four of the classbooks my students have made over four years.
Picture 2-A page from our classbook titled, Third Grade's Character Traits.  Each student described a character trait and illustrated a picture to describe the trait.
Picture 3-A page from our classbook called, What's the Author's Purpose.  This book describes the reasons why an author writes (persuade, inform, entertain, share feelings).
Picture 4-A page from our classbook called, The Perfect Class Pet.  This is an opinion writing piece.

How would you use this free publishing company in your classroom?


  1. Awesome post!! I really need to jump on board with this and try it out! Thanks for the push...again!

  2. Thanks so much for the information. This looks like such a fun activity for kids. I am saving this post for the future. :-)