For kindergarten this started with just two pieces of paper folded in half and stapled at the spine. The thought behind this decision was that a book would provide an organizational structure for the students to 'tell a story' rather than limiting them with just one single piece of paper. We all tend to work within boundaries anyway (I notice this myself when I write out a Christmas or birthday card, I write until I am out of space) so why not promote more writing, rather than less?
That being stated, the children are still working within developmentally recognized stages. Some tell their stories using pictures with random scribbles (writing) while others label using familiar letters.
This new venture has been successful in promoting story telling that has a beginning, middle and end. Below is one example from a boy whose story "Lights Out!" shows him in the dark on the cover. He becomes frightened as he sleeps in his room all alone (page 1) and calls for his parents (page 2) then is happy again with his mom beside him (page 3).
All alone in the dark, which he depicted quite well I think.
The 'S' you see is for the word 'sleep' and the colors on top of him represent all of the colors in his quilt.
Mom and Dad come into the room. Notice how he uses the initial letter for each word as well as 'B' for bed.
Smiles all around.