Using Book Bags for Daily Five in Kindergarten


Hi friends!  Today I’m going to address a topic that has been a challenge for me for about a year – using book bags with my kindergarteners.  I started using book bags for my kids last year, and honestly, I really did not do it very successfully.  

At the beginning of the year, the kids are just looking at picture books, so I just rotated plastic baggies of books between the kids.  This was okay for the beginning of the year (as long as I remembered to rotate them), but as the kids began reading emergent books, I knew I needed to supplement the picture books with just-right texts for them.  Finding a just-right text is next to impossible for a kindergartener to accomplish independently (I’m sure you all are better than me and can successfully teach this, but I’m not at that point yet!).  So, I didn’t really attempt to teach them how to select books for themselves – I just put books we’d read during guided reading in their bags.

Managing the book bags myself took a lot of time, and honestly, I wasn’t that good about putting new books in.  I’m getting my master’s and my planning time at school is limited, so it was hard for me to pull off as often as I should have.  The kids got bored with their books quickly, got chatty during silent reading time…you get the picture.

So, this year, I’m trying a totally different approach.  For their book bags, I got a local business to donate free reusable bags.  They’re a little big, but I’ll take what I can get.

The kids self-select books to put in their bag.  Every day of the week during breakfast/morning work, a different reading group gets to select new books (red group on Monday, blue group on Tuesday, etc.).  

They select 4 books from their color basket (inside the baskets are books from guided reading that are at their level or things they can “read” independently like songs, familiar texts, etc.):

And they also select 4 books from the picture book baskets:

So they end up with 8 different texts – 4 at their level, and 4 that they can use to look at the pictures.

Also, here’s what I do to keep the leveled books and “regular” books separate:  they put the picture books in their book bags, but keep the songs, familiar texts, and leveled texts from their colored basket in a folder, and the folder goes into their book bag.

Whew.  I hope that made sense!  The end result is that each kiddo has a book bag with 4 picture books, as well as a folder in the bag with 4 texts at the appropriate level for him/her.  So far it’s working well!

You can grab the labels I use (either Spanish or English) here.  Happy reading!


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10 years ago

Thank you for this! It will be my first year teaching (k or 1) and I plan on doing the daily 5.


I’m Alison, a literacy specialist. I love getting kids excited about reading and writing – and sharing teaching ideas with other teachers!

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