My kids LOVE the class books they make. During reading center they are picked first above ALL other books. They read them over, and over, and over!
One thing that has always frustrated me with making class books is that 1) they took time for me to bind nicely 2) even when I took the time to bind them nicely they still fell apart. . . they are just used too much to hold up for very long.
UNTIL. . . this year I decided to quit putting so much work into making them last because, well, they just weren't going to. So, I stapled them with my normal classroom stapler (I didn't venture to the workroom to laminate the cover, get the binding machine or even the heavy duty stapler) I just stapled them with my wimpy stapler and then wrapped duct tape over the staples so the staple parts that stuck up a little wouldn't stick the kids.
It's a MIRACLE! Even the class book we made in September is still holding up! No ripped out pages, no upset kids because their page is missing and no having to "fix" the books a million times to make little readers happy.
Is it pretty binding? No. Do the kids care? No!
Duct tape. . . I LOVE you!
By the way: this summer I wrapped a bunch of my old clipboards in duct tape and those are holding up beautifully also!