Get Your Writers Organized!

Learn how to make your own writer's folders.  Super simple and super effective way to help writers stay organized.

Using writing folders saved my writing block.  It's so frustrating (for me and the students) to be in the middle of a writing project, only to have a student say, "I can't find my paper."   Writing folders have helped us all stay on track and organized!

In late summer, as soon as Walmart and Target stock their Back-to-School aisle I look for their specials on pocket folders.  I can usually find them priced at 10 for $1.  That's when I put my writing folders together. They are a super handy way for students to keep their writing projects organized.  Putting two folders together gives you 4 pockets, which is perfect for the steps in the writing project. 

What I love the most about these folders is they are so easy for the students to use.  Whether they're working on their pre-writing with graphic organizers, drawing a picture, or working with a partner during the revising stage, they can store all of the pages they need in a writing folder.  

The pockets hold everything they need as they work through the writing process.  The first pocket holds the writing prompt, organizers, sketches, or anything else they need to begin planning their writing piece.  

The second pocket holds the pages they use for writing the first draft of their writing.  This pocket can also hold any notes or special instructions they need for a particular writing assignment.  As they move through each step of the process they move their paper to the next pocket.  

Writing folder.  A pocket for each step in the writing process - prewriting, drafting, revising/editing, and publishing.

The center of the folder (between pocket 2 and 3) is a great place to affix any writing tips or lists the writer may need.  I like to include characteristics of the traits of good writing, along with common synonyms and homophone lists.

Writing folder, the center holds writer's tips and lists.

The third pocket is where students keep their writing as they work on revising and editing.  The pocket can hold any checklists the writer needs as they work on improving their writing.  

Writing Folder,  pockets for revising/editing and publishing

The fourth and final pocket will hold whatever the student needs as they work on publishing their piece of writing.    After the final copy is finished, either rewritten by hand or printed from a computer, it can be placed in this pocket.  The students turn in their entire folder when it's ready to be evaluated.  It's nice to see all of the parts of the writing process as you evaluate their final writing.  

Once this writing project is completed, the pieces of work for this writing process can be stapled together.  It's a great way for students to see how their writing grew and improved throughout the writing process. This completed packet can be kept in a portfolio until the end of the year.   

The folders can be stored in a box or basket. Storing the student writing folders in a central location makes it convenient for both students and the teacher.  I often look through the folders to check on a student's progress.  One of the best things about these folders is fewer students mysteriously lose their papers through the writing process. 

Making the Writing Folders

To make the writing folder you need:
  • 2 pocket folders without the center prongs.
  • long-arm stapler
  • pocket labels for Pre-writing, Drafting, Revising/Editing, and Publishing.
  • Optional for the center,  writer's tips and word lists

Writing Folder,  Using two pocket folders and a stapler you can easily make folders that will keep writers organized all year!

Open the folders and put them together with the pockets facing each other.  Staple along the fold, from the outside folder.  That way, the staple ends will be on the inside of the finished folder.   The folder should open up so you see two pockets, then the blank center section, and finally, two more pockets.

Now you can add a cover, the pocket labels.  The blank center section is a great place to add any word lists or writer's tips your students might need.  These references are handy for your students to use all year.

Writing Folder, printable labels, cover and writer's tips and lists

Another option is to laminate the pocket folders before you staple them together.  If you choose to do this, make sure you add the labels, cover, and writer's tips and lists before you laminate.  After you laminate them, staple the two folders together. You may be able to use the laminated folders for two or three years.

The printable labels, tips, lists, and folder covers are included in my Writer's Folder and Checklists resource.  It has lots of choices for the cover, plus checklists your writers can use when they're revising and editing their work.  

Writer's folder with Checklists

Find out how you can keep your writers organized with these easy-to-make folders.  All you need is two pocket folders and a long-arm stapler.  The four pockets are great for holding all the papers student writers need as they work through the writing process;  prewriting, drafting, revising/editing, and publishing.  Your students will be so organized they'll be able to complete their writing projects on time!

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