Coast-to-Coast Book Design—Part 4: Let’s Create the Pages!

By Donna Sharpe, April 1, 2007

Grade Level

  • Middle School


  • Other

Subject Area

  • Arts
  • Language Arts

Lesson Time

Two fifty-minute class periods


This is lesson four of a unit on book design (see Coast-to-Coast Book Design: Parts 1-3). In this final lesson of the unit, students create pages for the book, they vote on pages to be used for a published piece, and they publish a book using the online services of  Design is the plan, organization, or arrangement of elements in a work of art. Design encompasses many areas of life. This lesson focuses on book design.

National Standards

Visual Arts
Standard 1. Understanding and applying media, techniques, and processes. Standard 2. Using knowledge of structures and functions. Standard 3. Choosing and evaluating a range of subject matter, symbols, and ideas. Standard 6. Making connections between visual arts and other disciplines.
English Language Arts
Standards 6. Students apply knowledge of language structure, language conventions (e.g. spelling and punctuation), media techniques, figurative language, and genre to create, critique, and discuss print and non-print texts.

Common Core State Standards

English Language Arts Standards Writing 

Grade 6-8

Production and Distribution of Writing:

  • CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.WHST.6-8.4 Produce clear and coherent writing in which the development, organization, and style are appropriate to task, purpose, and audience.
  • CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.WHST.6-8.5 With some guidance and support from peers and adults, develop and strengthen writing as needed by planning, revising, editing, rewriting, or trying a new approach, focusing on how well purpose and audience have been addressed.
  • CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.WHST.6-8.6 Use technology, including the Internet, to produce and publish writing and present the relationships between information and ideas clearly and efficiently.

Production and Distribution of Writing:

  • CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.WHST.6-8.4 Produce clear and coherent writing in which the development, organization, and style are appropriate to task, purpose, and audience.

English Language Arts Standards: Speaking and Listening

Grade 6-8

Comprehension and Collaboration:

  • CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.SL.6-8.1 Engage effectively in a range of collaborative discussions (one-on-one, in groups, and teacher-led) with diverse partners on grade level topics, texts, and issues, building on others' ideas and expressing their own clearly.
  • CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.SL.6-8.1.A Come to discussions prepared, having read or researched material under study; explicitly draw on that preparation by referring to evidence on the topic, text, or issue to probe and reflect on ideas under discussion.
  • CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.SL.6-8.2 Analyze the purpose of information presented in diverse media and formats (e.g., visually, quantitatively, orally) and evaluate the motives (e.g., social, commercial, political) behind its presentation.
  • CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.SL.8.3 Delineate a speaker's argument and specific claims, evaluating the soundness of the reasoning and relevance and sufficiency of the evidence and identifying when irrelevant evidence is introduced.

Presentation of Knowledge and Ideas:

  • CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.SL.6-8.4 Present claims and findings, emphasizing salient points in a focused, coherent manner with relevant evidence, sound valid reasoning, and well-chosen details; use appropriate eye contact, adequate volume, and clear pronunciation.
  • CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.SL.6-8.5 Integrate multimedia and visual displays into presentations to clarify information, strengthen claims and evidence, and add interest.
  • CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.SL.6-8.6 Adapt speech to a variety of contexts and tasks, demonstrating command of formal English when indicated or appropriate. (See grade 8 Language standards 1 and 3 here for specific expectations.)


Students will:
  • understand the concept of designing a book
  • use a variety of materials to create a finished illustration
  • participate in and understand the steps taken to publish a book



  • various art supplies
  • digital camera
  • copies of various types of fonts


  • Design
  • Layout
  • Illustration
  • Publishing


Part One-Sharing ideas (this part of the activity should follow steps taken in previous Coast-to-Coast book design activities)
  • Break students into the groups they were in during the previous activities. Have the students share the list of A-B-C ideas that they came up with for homework. Which words did they choose to illustrate each letter?
  • After a short discussion within the small groups, the groups should share their findings with the rest of the class.
  • Write all of the ideas on the board, drawing attention to any unique words.
  • Important: Make sure each letter of alphabet is represented at least once.
  • Have each student pick a letter/idea from the list to use to create their book page.
Part Two - Setting Up
  • Revisit the page layout from Lesson 2. Show students examples of various page layouts from A-B-C books emphasizing the use of page design/layout.
  • Explain the design restrictions due to the publishing company
  • The page format will be vertical—9 x 12 inches—and the letter on the page will be four inches high. A border of 1/2 inch will be around the page.
  • Emphasize to the students that these restrictions will provide continuity throughout the book even through there will be different illustrators and authors working on several pages.
  • Have students complete a rough draft of their page in pencil. Make sure they complete their page with the correct measurements (actual page size, letter size, border size). Check the rough drafts before students start on their final draft. The rough draft can be assigned as class work or homework, depending on class time.
Part Three - The Illustration
  • Once the students’ drafts have been approved, they may start creating their work. Various medium may be used including colored pencils, markers, watercolor paints, etc. Students should be reminded to lightly pencil in the border, draw their ideas, and then add color to the page. Emphasize drawing lightly in pencil first to avoid mistakes that may show up in the final piece.
  • After each student creates one page for the A-B-C book, they will decide as a class which page will represent their school in the final vote. Each school will pick three pages for each letter for the final vote. A picture will be taken of these pages. A vote will be taken at each school on which page should be in the final published book. The teachers will tally the votes. (If this lesson is not being done with a partner school, the students may still vote on which pages will make their own class book.)
Part Four - Publishing
  • The teachers will submit the pages to be published to a vanity press such as


Classroom discussion will provide the best assessment for this project as it will lead to the inclusion of a student's work into a published A-B-C book.
Differentiation of instruction can be provided by allowing students with poor motor skills to trace the letter from a copy to their final draft. Visually impaired students could create their ideas using a larger scale and instructor could reduce their work using digital photography or scanning software.

Enrichment Extension Activities

Accelerated students would be invited to create their own complete A-B-C book and use independently.

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