Make and Write a Story Roll

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Guest Post by: Alida Bunder, ECE specialist, mom, grandma, and literacy expert.

Making story rolls with paper towel rolls is a happy writing activity that gets children excited about creating books. By using both hands and heads, children will invent something that is uniquely his or her own.

Make a Story Roll


one or two empty rolls from paper towels or toilet paper

several sheets of white paper

crayons or markers

tape or glue

ribbon, string or yarn


  1. Take a paper towel roll or toilet paper roll.
  2. Cut several sheets of white paper to fit the size (height) of the roll.
  3. Tape or glue 4 to 6 sheets of paper together to form one long sheet of paper.
  4. Tape or glue the sheets of paper to the paper towel roll or toilet paper roll.
  5. Roll it and tie it closed with a ribbon or yarn or string.
  6. Present the paper roll to your child.
  7. Explain that today you are creating a story together.
  8. Ask your child what s/he would like the story to be about.  Ex.: – My Rocket Ship, or My Spring Garden
  9. Unroll the paper and begin to write the story together if the child is young.
  10. With older children, ask your child to write the story him/herself.
  11. Start by writing down for him/her a list of words that may help him/her get started.  If your child’s story is going to be about his/her favorite foods, you might write a list of foods s/he likes such as pizza, popcorn, ice cream, etc.

Make a Story Roll

On the first page, you could start the story with:

My rocket ship flies up to the stars.

Next page,

My rocket ship flies to the moon.

Next page,

My rocket ship flies fast.


My garden has flowers.

My garden has trees.

My garden has bees.

Next Steps:

Ask your child to illustrate each page of the story.

When you finish, read the story to your child if he or she is a non-reader.

Roll up the story, tie it closed and hand it to your child.

Ask your child to open the story and read it back to you.

(You can label the story on the outside of the paper roll.)

Bio: Alida B. Bunder is a mom and grandma. She holds several M.A. degrees, one in early childhood education, one in special education, has worked 36 years as an early childhood educational administrator, and was trained in the Orton-Gillingham and Lindamood-Bell reading methodologies. Her website,, supplies 52 weeks of fun literacy activities on six different age and ability levels and her blog,, gives you ideas for free.

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  1. My son would love to make his own “rocket” story roll. The story could really go on and on and on with this design.

  2. This is such a lovely idea. And I bet the unique presentation makes it irresistible to children. They would have to put something on that paper.

  3. such a good idea! i loved making books with my students when i taught, and look forward to trying this out with my daughter when she’s a bit older.

  4. Melissa and Alida, I love this idea so much! I just finished off some wrapping paper, so I might even use that roll and cut it to fit large freezer paper, for an extra large book. Thanks!