The Nuts and Bolts of Getting Started With Take Home Book Bags
Full Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links.
Why would you want to implement take home book bags?
How should you get started?
What are you going to put in the bags?
- There Is a Bird On Your Head! by Mo Willems
- If You Give a Mouse a Cookie by Laura Numeroff
- The Paperbag Princess by Robert Munsch
- The Little Red Hen by Paul Galdone
- Gingerbread Man retold by Catherine McCafferty
- The Three Little Pigsby Patricia Seibert
- The Three Billy Goats Gruff by Carol Ottolenghi
- Little Blue Truck by Alice Schertle (board book version)
- Green is a Chile Pepper: A Book of Colors by Roseanne Greenfield
- Mouse Shapes by Ellen Stoll Walsh
- Harold and the Purple Crayon by Robert Krauss
- Flower Garden by Eve Bunting
- Corduroy by Don Freeman
- The Snowy Day by Ezra Jack Keats
- Ten Black Dotsby Donald Crews
- Lola at the Library by Anna McQuinn
- Bee Bim Bop by Linda Sue Park
- The Feelings Book by Todd Parr
- The Listening Walkby Paul Showers
- Rah, Rah, Radishes A Vegetable Chant by April Pulley Sayre
Here are also a couple of early chapter books to help families transition in reading aloud chapter books.
- Zoey & Sassafras Dragons and Marshmallows by Asia Citro
- Zapato Power Freddie Ramos Takes Off by Jacqueline Jules
I like to reinforce the binding of each book with clear packing tape (here is my favorite brand) for durability.
The Book Buddy Sheets
Where should you store the bags?
When should the book bags go home?
A weekly checkout routine is manageable and predictable. Pick a day that works best for your schedule and routine. I like to do a Monday checkout. You can send home a Thursday reminder to return books on Friday. Then, you have the weekend to repair or replace any pieces in the bags.
To monitor which family has which set checked out, I keep a simple list of take home bags. It has several columns to keep track of which bags are checked out each week. I place the child’s initials in a column when the book bag is checked out. Then, I circle the number in the column when a bag is returned.
You could also use an electronic system such as the free service called Book Source Classroom Organizer.
How Do You Introduce the Program to Families?
A back to school or open house meeting is a great time to share the program with families. A letter home explaining the take home bags also works.
Be sure to talk about the following points.
- The purpose of the take home bags
- What can be found inside each bag
- How and when to use the bags
- When the bags will come home and when they should be returned
- What to do if a bag or its contents are damaged
- The program is not mandatory but highly encouraged
I Really Want Something Where Most of the Work is Done For Me!
I hear you! If you would rather spend your free time doing something else rather than writing all the questions and activities for over twenty books, creating a parent letter, and putting together all the management forms, I have you covered.
I’ve created a nice neat package for you. All you need to do is print, gather the books and bags, and assemble your bags. Yep, I’ve got all your book buddy sheets and forms done. Here is what you get in the download.
- An easy step by step guide/checklist (cheat sheet) of all the information provided in this post
- Suggested book list and shopping list
- 22 Book Buddy Sheets for the books listed above plus a blank EDITABLE template for other titles you may choose (before, during, and after questions, activity experiences, and further reading book suggestions for families)
- Introduction letter for families
- Check out master sheet plus a blank EDITABLE check out sheet
- Family due date reminders
- If lost, please return notes
Many of the forms include editable fields for changing dates.
Get all of this for the affordable price of $6.
*Please note this is a downloadable file. Once you make your purchase, a PDF file will be emailed to you to download. It does not include the actual books or bags. You must have Adobe Reader to use the editable fields portion of the document.
What questions do you still have? I’m here to help. Feel free to leave a comment and I’ll get back to you.
Are you ready to strengthen your family and school partnership through take home book bags? I know you can do this.