During the school year the teacher does an “interest inventory” with each child, making note of the types of stories and topics the child is most interested in. The teacher also notes the child’s reading level range.
About a month before the end of the school year, we select an assortment of books for each child based on notes from the interest inventory.
With the books in hand, we take them to school and let students choose from a variety of high-interest books in their reading level range. The teacher is present during this time to assist as needed. The last week of school, we give the bags to the children to take home. Ziplock bags help the books stay safe and dry and make it easy to grab and go at a moment’s notice. This keeps children engaged in reading over the summer with access to books they like and that are matched to their reading level.
I gave book bags to kids last year, and parents reported back to me this year about it. One child read his books to his little sister, several initiated a bed-time reading routine with their parents, and many parents said they’d never seen their kids so excited about summer reading.