I know as teachers we are constantly trying to instill a love of reading in our students. One way I help excite and motivate my students when it comes to reading is by sending home weekly Book Bags. I have observed kindergarten through second grade teachers send home these bags and wanted to do something similar that would be relevant to my third graders. This is how Book Bags work in my classroom...
Each Monday I send a decorative bag with a book home with each student. The student has the entire week to enjoy the book. I strongly encourage families to participate in the reading as well. I have carefully selected each book to cover certain subjects, themes, or genres we are learning in third grade. I have books covering all areas from science to poetry. Each week is something new!
In addition to simply reading the book, the students also take time to write in the "Book Bag Journal" that goes with each book. The students respond to most Book Bag Journal topics by writing in the form of a letter. At the end of the school year, the journals are filled with letters from each child. I have found that the students write the most thoughtful things because they are so excited about the books! The students start their letter with, "Dear Friend," and respond to one of the response activities I have on the inside cover of the journal. Each response choice is different depending on the book. For example, in some books students may discuss their favorite character or perhaps leave a text to self connection. One type of book I send home is a wordless picture book. For this book, the students have to write their own story to go along with the pictures in the book. The kids love receiving a new book each Monday and reading their friends' letters.
How do you promote literacy in your classroom?