I posted about this way back at the beginning of the year (check out that post here) but I just had to blog about take home books again today! My little friends could not be more excited about the fact that they get to take home these little book bags each day with a new story. I haven’t exactly figured out why they love it so much, but to say it is motivating them to read is an understatement. They definitely take ownership of their own little book bag and are proud to read it to whomever they choose to read it to at home each night.
I actually send home a new book each day M-Th and then on Friday the bags stay at school. My main reason for this is that I’m a little scared of the 2 days of the weekend and what may happen to those books and those bags, so we just go with weekdays in my room! I kinda can’t believe it, but each week my little friends are actually a little sad when Friday rolls around because they don’t get a new book to take home. They usually ask me, “wait, when is Monday again??” So, since that is the case, maybe eventually I’ll feel comfortable enough with weekend book bags too. 🙂
The book bags include one new book each day that is at their independent reading level- we most likely have already read it at some point together in class. It is a great confidence builder knowing that they can read they the book all by themselves at home! I always tell my little friends that they shouldn’t need any help reading the story, so they can read it by themselves, to their pet, to a family member, stuffed animal, etc. They sure love telling me the next day that they read it to their dog five times. Ha!
Each day when they return with the book, before giving my little friends their new story, I quickly ask just one simple comprehension question about the book to make sure they read it. They almost always read it, but thankfully are also very honest if they did not- but that really seems to happen rarely, which warms my reading heart!
Now, I know this can be tough to figure out, but if possible find some books that you don’t mind sending home each day and just make sure that students know how very important those books are to you and that they MUST come back each day. I used to send paper books home that went along with our reading series that I just let them keep at home, but since these are actual books (even if they are the black and white version), my little friends know that the only way they can get a new book to read the next day is by bringing one back. Let me tell you- these little friends of mine are so very responsible with these book bags! I include just the little note below in the front of their book bag with their name on it and so far it has been working out well. You could also easily use gallon sized baggies as their book bags.
So, if you are looking for a new way to motivate your readers, try doing some sort of take home system- not only will their reading improve from the extra practice, but it also gets kids excited about reading! I personally am so thankful for these take home book bags this year and definitely can say they have made a difference in getting my little friends motivated about reading each and every day!