Monday, September 23, 2013

Taking apart trade paperbacks for laminating

This is something I've always kind of wanted to do - take apart trade paperbacks and laminate them - but always thought it would be quite the process. Turns out, not true! I did a little google search and watched a youtube video or two, and came up with this method.

But first, why would you want to take apart books? Well, the main reason would be durability. If you have students who handle books excessively, put things in their mouths, have spastic or otherwise tight grips, you are going to have a lot of ripped and ruined paperbacks on your hands. Laminating saves a lot of books! Great for early childhood and special education teachers alike!

Another reason would be adaptability. Making already-published books interactive is an easy, inexpensive and effective way to get at some literacy skillls, IEP goals, and general accessibility. And that's just plain easier when you've already laminated the pages.

So, here's how I do it - super quick and easy:

First, get out your hair dryer. Put it on high speed, and on the highest heat setting. Slowly blow the air at the inside binding of the book. Paperbacks are held together with glue, so this softens the glue for easy disassembly. I needed maybe 30 seconds (if that) of blow drying for this book, a "step 1" reader. I'd guess you'd need more - but not much more - for a thicker book.

You know you're ready when the binding starts to peel away. You should be able to remove the front and back covers at this point (sometimes the first and last pages stick to the covers - you can carefully peel them off).

You should now be able to easily peel the pages apart from one another. If this is at all difficult or you are ripping pages, do more with the hair dryer - the glue just needs to soften more. Once the pages are separated, you can easily pick any excess glue off with your fingernails.

Now you should have all the pages separated, ready to be laminated and bound. I like to use book rings for binding - both because I don't have a book binder at home, and because I think book rings hold up better than the plastic spiral binding.

I wanted this book - an opposites book with a "Cars" theme - to be interactive, so I printed boardmaker icons for each of the opposites words and affixed them with velcro to the laminated pages. Students will now have to select the correct icon that goes with each page. So much quicker and easier than creating my own book from scratch - not to mention, many of my boys love the Cars movies, so this will be a highly motivating activity for them.


  1. O my goodness - I just adapted this same book! I can send you the symbols for the words if you want them!!!

    1. Brie - how funny that we both just adapted the same book! Thanks for the offer, though I already have the symbols for this book :) Great minds definitely think alike!!


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