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Book Bags

I have tried many different ways to get books home with kids and I wanted to share with you some of the ways that have worked for me.
In the beginning of my teaching career, I required it-yes.  I would send home book bags and I ultimately never got those book bags back.
My kiddos were not taking ownership of their book bags and I lost A LOT of books.
Fast forward to the past few years.  I decided to make it optional.  If my kiddos wanted to bring books home, they would have to decide with their parents.

I sent home a note asking if they were interested in a book bag.  This gave my kiddos ownership and responsibility to get their note signed saying they wanted books at home.

Once I had that note, they could choose the books that they would like to bring home.  I limited it to to 2-3 books and I only switched out the books 1-2 times a week.  I learned fast that they would want them switched out every day if I allowed it, but it became too much every day to have them switch out their books.

Now, onto the books!  I trusted them that they would return every book they took out.  With that being said, I let them pick any book.  I wanted them to be able to read the books to their parents and in kindergarten those books usually were our guided reading books.  Having them feel confident in their skills required those books.  I used school books and books that I purchased.  I recently was sent a book from Blueberry Hill Books and they offer great leveled reading books for your class.
Another great type of book to send home are the books you can print off- like these.

I like these because if they don't bring them back it isn't a big deal.
You could even start by sending home a printed book and if they bring it back they get to choose leveled readers to bring home next!
There are so many different ways to hold their books.  You can find book bags online, but that can get expensive.  I take a gallon sized ziploc and tape the instructions to the front.

I write their name on the bag and they go and choose which books they want.  I have seen teachers use fun duct tape to tape around the edges so the bag doesn't break as easily. 

The great thing is that if it does break you haven't spent a lot of money on a box of baggies.  You could even add this to your class donation list and get it donated by a classroom parent!
Do you send book bags home with your students?

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