My poor husband! Every year, in August, he knows it’s almost time for me to go back to school because he opens the pantry cabinet and all of the cereal is sitting in bags on the shelf. Once again, I’ve stolen all the boxes to use for this project!
These DIY book boxes are so quick and simple to make!
The first, and probably most difficult, step in this project is collecting a class set of cereal boxes, but between my pantry, my coworkers, and the student’s families, I’m usually able to scrounge together the 20 or so I need.
After that, these are a breeze!
I’ll have the class decorate them in school, then send them home with a note that these are to be their special “Keep-at-Home” book boxes. They can use them to keep all of their magazines (such as National Geographic Kids or Scholastic News) and paper take-home books so they can read them again and again!
We know the best way to build reading fluency is to have students practice reading familiar texts,
so having an exciting spot for all of their paper books from school means they can work on fluency at home, regardless of the state of their family’s book collection.
Check out how easy it is to make the boxes!
I can usually make the whole class set in less than an hour;
Start with a clean cereal box.
Take a ruler and measure up 5 inches from the bottom on the edge of one the larger sides and mark with a sharpie.
Then use the ruler to draw a straight line from the opposite top corner of the box to your mark;
Turn the box over and repeat, but reversed so that the 5 inch marks are both in the front.
Draw a line across the front connecting your two 5 inch marks
Then cut along your black lines!
You may also need to cut off a small flap from the top so that you have a cleanly shaped book box!
Now you just need to let the students paint them.
Acrylic or tempera paint works fine. It’s much quicker if you don’t let them paint the inside, but if you are going to, make sure they do that first.
Once they’re dry, you can let students decorate more with stickers if you want.
Make sure to write names and “My Book Box” or something similar.
Then you need to print copies of a letter to parents, something along the lines of;
Today is an exciting day! Your child is bringing home their very special, ‘Keep-at-home’ book box! Make sure to put it somewhere safe, preferably near where they read or do homework, or in a central location in your home. This is a place to store all of the printed paper books and magazines that we send home throughout the year. Please continue to return your guided reading books and library books to school promptly, and if you are not sure whether something should be sent back or not, feel free to contact me!
We know that children become better readers when they have a chance to practice reading texts they know over and over. They become more confident and they improve their ability to read with fluency and expression. If you can encourage them to reread the texts they bring home on a regular basis, you will be helping them to develop these skills! Don’t worry if they keep picking the same little book or magazine over and over- they are still learning, and the more interested they are, the better! Celebrate with them when they become really comfortable with a text and encourage them to proudly show off their amazing reading to family members, friends, pets, siblings, or even stuffed animals! Of course, it’s even better if you have books to read at home or from your local library, but this little book box will provide a great back-up collection of texts that we have practiced in class and they are already somewhat familiar with. I hope it gets you started on a joyful reading journey!
As always, if you have any questions, feel free to contact me.
I usually use a paper clip to hold the letter inside the box the day I send it home.
Now you just need some books and magazines to start the collection!
For FREE printable mini-books, check out these amazing resources;
–AlphaBuddies In Color: Free Printable Readers! Practice letter recognition, colors words, and kindergarten sight words!
–Washi SHAPES! Free printable Reader Practice geometry and have fun with Washi Tape
-Pioneer Valley Books (If you click on the button that says ‘book builder’ at the bottom you can personalize it with children’s names!)
-The Measured Mom (Pictured below)
-This Reading Mama (Word family books)
–Read Works (Not in book form, but this site has printable articles in a variety of levels and topics with comprehension worksheets to match)
Personally, I love doing this project with students at the beginning of the year, and knowing that I’m helping to set them up for at-home reading success!
Would you try it with your class? What other resources would you send home to use in it? Let me know in the comments!
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