Hameray Classroom Literacy Blog

Teaching Informational Texts with Foldables—with FREE Download

This is a guest post by Theresa Schrader. If you like what you see here, check back frequently for more posts here on our literacy blog and  click here to read her blog,  P inkadots Elementary .

Have you heard of foldables? Are you familiar with interactive notebooks?   They seem to be the new fad and not only are they fun and a wonderful hands-on learning experience for students, they are also a great resource for a student to refer back to throughout the whole year. I received some informational texts about underwater sea life. Although we do not teach about this topic specifically in our curriculum, I was still able to incorporate these beautiful books into my lessons.

While teaching different ELA strategies, I was able to break the students up into small groups and allow them to use the   Underwater Encounters collection   as a resource. This week my groups read different chapters in   Clever Crustaceans   and then jigsawed as a class to share their information on the whole book. Together students from each group made a presentation sheet for the foldables they created. They were very proud of their results.

I had the most success with the students creating and completing these:
-An accordion nonfiction summary
-A vocabulary flip-flap
-A Venn-trifold

Nonfiction summaries are very difficult to write, and my students often struggle. The accordion summary foldable is a great hands-on approach to breaking text paragraphs up into shapes.   When I give students one or two pages from a nonfiction book, they can easily create a short summary. We focus on the five Ws ( who ,   what ,   why ,   where , and   when ; I also add   how ) when writing a nonfiction summary. The students are easily able to locate the main idea and important details from each paragraph and write them into the boxes of the foldable.

The vocabulary flip-flap foldable is always a student favorite. Not only is it a fun paper to cut and fold, but it also organizes information very well.   When using this foldable, I choose eight vocabulary words with a similar theme. The students write the vocabulary words on one side and define them on the other side of the little blocks. In the center, they try to guess the theme or the commonality between all words. When defining the vocabulary, they can use the nonfiction text features such as the glossary, index, bold-face print words, or even context clues.

Using a Venn trifold is very easy. It is just like a Venn diagram, except the two opposite sides open and the commonalities are written in the center.   Students usually use bullet points when writing on their trifold to keep it neat. It is a great visual aid when one side is colored one color and the other side is colored a completely different color. When the trifold opens, the students usually mix both colors together to signal “alike”.

The students in my class were excited for group this week and could not wait to find out more information about the underwater sea creatures. You can download the foldable templates below. I hope you can incorporate these fun foldables into your small groups or whole class lessons.


Theresa has been teaching fourth grade in Connecticut for eight years. She holds two master’s degrees in education and loves finding ways to integrate technology into her curriculum. She blogs about lesson ideas, technology, classroom management, and more at her blog,   Pinkadots Elementary


For more information about the Underwater Encounters series,  click here to visit our website  or click the image to the left below to download an information sheet with series highlights. To download the foldables, click the image to the right below.