Free Folding Paper Activities for ELA

Free Folding Paper Activities

ELA can be a tough subject to teach because there are so many pieces within it. It can take lots of lesson planning, resource purchasing, and material sorting to get it all prepped. But what happens when you find yourself in need of a quick and free activity for ELA?

Sometimes, a free and simple paper folding activity is all you need to create an effective, and engaging Reading activity. I have compiled a list of 5 free folding paper activities that simply require one (or two) pieces of paper. I’ll walk you through how to fold and use these free paper activities. And hopefully, this can help in the future when you’re in need of a quick and easy ELA activity on the fly.

Below, you will find a Facebook Live video I recorded that will show how to make these step-by-step!

Fold and Snip Books- Free Folding Activity 1

The fold and snip activity is one of the easiest. Students will fold the paper in half (hot-dog style). Then, they will open the paper back up and snip half of the paper to the middle piece. I would suggest having between 2-5 flaps. If you end up with more than 5 flaps, the pieces get pretty small.

You can use the fold and snip activities for:

  • Beginning/middle/end (3 flaps)
  • Problem and solution (2 flaps)
  • Unknown words (3+ flaps)
  • Compare and contrast (2 flaps)
  • Story elements (3 flaps- characters, setting, events)
  • Author’s Point and reasons (3-4 flaps- point and 2-3 reasons)

Fold and 4-Square- Activity 2

I would consider the fold and 4-square to be the easiest free paper activity. The students will fold the paper in half once, and then fold it in half again. Then, when they open the paper back up, there will be four squares. One thing I suggest for this is to have the students trace those creases to make the boxes even more obvious to them! This can be used for a wide variety of activities in ELA!

  • Story elements
  • Main idea and 3 key details
  • Illustrations

Another option with this creation is to keep it folded up. When you keep it folded up, the students can use this paper as a mini book! You can either have them retell a story using the book. They can write about the unknown words from their story, or you could even have them practice their Common Core aligned writing skills (opinion, informative, narrative).

Shutterfold- Activity 3

This folding activity gets a little more tricky. So, make sure to do this one step by step with your students! The students will lay their paper down on their desks horizontally. Then, they will fold the left and right edges inward until they meet in the middle. Once they find the middle, then they can crease those edges. Finally, they will open the folded paper back up and snip 2-3 flaps onto the left and right pieces only. Make sure students open that back up and cut only to the creased line. If they cut that middle piece, it won’t stay together. Then, they will have a foldable book.

Here are a few ideas the shutterfold are perfect for:

  • Types of sentences (as shown in the picture)
  • Unknown words
  • Asking question (then answering them after reading)
  • Figurative language (3rd grade+)
  • Parts of speech
  • Text Features

Check out the video link below for a closer look at how to fold and cut!

Folding Flip Book- Activity 4

In this free foldable activity, students will make their very own flip book by using just two pieces of paper. They will set the pieces of paper down on the table. Then, they will stack the pieces of paper on top of each other, but the paper on top should be about one inch lower than the paper on the bottom. Then, they will take the bottom of their paper stack and fold it over. One thing I suggest is to always staple these. Otherwise, the two pieces don’t stay together.

Another option for these is to cut the flip book right down the middle to  create two half-sized flip books! This will save paper and make the flip books more compact for students if they’re not writing or drawing too much for the activity.

Here are a few activities I suggest for the flip book:

  • Language skills
  • Ask and answer questions
  • Story elements
  • Different types of text
  • Author’s Point and reasons
  • Compare and contrast two texts

Sorting Book- Free Folding Activity 5

And for our final folding activity, you can create a sorting book. What student will do is lay their paper horizontally. Then, they will fold about 1-2 inches of the bottom upwards and crease it. Then, they will fold that book in half. I do suggest having the students glue a one-inch strip along the pockets so that things don’t fall out the sides. Then, you can give them pre-made cut and sort activity, Post-it notes, index cards, or paper strips for them to cut and sort! One difficult thing about this method is that if students aren’t too careful, all the pieces can fall out of the top.

A few suggestions for this method are:

  • Fiction vs. nonfiction titles
  • Problem and solution
  • Main idea vs. key details
  • Comparing and contrasting two books

Watch the video of me folding in action!

Click the play button above or watch on YouTube here.

Want more ELA ideas?


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