Take Home Book Bags - The Materials

Take Home Book Bags are one of my favorite alternatives to homework for my second graders.  They give my students the opportunity to read at home if they don't have access to books, but also involves their families in the reading process.  To learn more about the what and why of Take Home Book Bags, check out this post.

Today I want to share with you just where I get the materials for my Take Home Book Bags.  Don't worry, I don't break the bank trying to do so!

Book Bags
For the actual book bags, I use the Store More Book Pouches.  They are very durable and the materials all stay inside.  These book pouches also stand up well on the bookshelf when I am storing them.
A great alternative to regular reading homework!  Elementary students take home a bag of books each week to share with their families.  The bag includes not only books, but fun family activities as well!
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Ziplock bags or canvas bags also work well.  Each bag gets a label so that it's easy to locate on the bookshelf.
A great alternative to regular reading homework!  Elementary students take home a bag of books each week to share with their families.  The bag includes not only books, but fun family activities as well!
Books
Can books get expensive? Yes, BUT, they don't have to be!  Here are a few tricks that I use to get them cheaply.
A great alternative to regular reading homework!  Elementary students take home a bag of books each week to share with their families.  The bag includes not only books, but fun family activities as well!
First, I dig through my classroom library.  If there are any books that are not in great shape or if I have multiple copies, those go towards my book bags.  Also, if another teacher in the building is cleaning out their classroom, they place books in the teacher's room.  I quickly grab these up!

I also purchase a lot of my books from book sales at my local library.  Hardcover picture books for 25 cents?  Yes please!  The books are used, but most are still in great shape.

Scholastic book orders are another great way to get books for cheap.  You can get books for only a dollar or even for free if you use bonus points!  I have found that the Scholastic Book Fair that we host at our school is often expensive, but the monthly book orders have some great deals.

I go into more detail about purchasing books for cheap in this post.

Journals
I create my own journal by printing writing pages and binding them into a book.  I create one book per bag with enough response pages for each student.  I copy the response pages back-to-back so that way there is extra space if a student needs it.
A great alternative to regular reading homework!  Elementary students take home a bag of books each week to share with their families.  The bag includes not only books, but fun family activities as well!
I know that some teachers have copy limits, though.  The journals can also be created with a composition book or a spiral notebook.  These can be snatched up for cheap from Target or Staples during Back-to-School sales.  Sometimes as cheap as 5 cents! Keep an eye out over the summer for this deal.
Composition Book:
A great alternative to regular reading homework!  Elementary students take home a bag of books each week to share with their families.  The bag includes not only books, but fun family activities as well!

Check-Out
This is super simple.  I just use a pocket chart to track the bags!  I believe my pocket chart is from the Dollar Section at Target.  I then print out and laminate labels for each book bag and a set of class numbers.  I place all the labels on the chart ahead of time and then my students get their number card when they come up to choose their Take Home Book Bag for the week.
A great alternative to regular reading homework!  Elementary students take home a bag of books each week to share with their families.  The bag includes not only books, but fun family activities as well!
File Storage
I like to keep extras of all the game materials, journal pages and worksheets just in case something gets lost.  I use file folders and this file bin that I already happened to have in my classroom.  These materials could easily be stored in a binder or in a file cabinet.  Or you could make the copies as they are needed.
A great alternative to regular reading homework!  Elementary students take home a bag of books each week to share with their families.  The bag includes not only books, but fun family activities as well!

A great alternative to regular reading homework!  Elementary students take home a bag of books each week to share with their families.  The bag includes not only books, but fun family activities as well!

Want to learn more about how I use Take Home Book Bags?  Check out these links:

Take Home Book Bags - The What and Why
Take Home Book Bags - Organization

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