A few years ago I was looking for a way to have a few reluctant readers find more connection with the stories that they were reading. In doing some research I found an idea that has many names, but that I call "literacy bags." The basic idea is to have the students interact with the story through different activities. I spent a whole summer making enough literacy bags to that every student in my room could take one home for the weekend. Then through the positive encouragement of the parents, I made a second set at a more difficult reading level, so there are enough to last the entire school year!
I'm sending home the sheets that I would like you to sign and return on Monday. You can understand that the cost of making these bags was quite substantial. I love the excitement that the students have each Friday as they take the bags home, but can't afford to remake them or replace the items, so ask for your assistance in keeping the pieces altogether. Each bag has a card that lists exactly what is inside. Please take the time to count all the bits and bobs before you send the bag back each Monday. NOTE: The items are not baby proof and as many families have toddlers and wee ones, please put the bag back in the student's backpack to ensure that no little hands can take the small pieces and swallow them.
Of course the whole purpose is to enjoy books, so the items relate to a particular story and to an educationally sound objective that we study in the classroom at some point in the year. The reading level in the first four months may seem quite easy with some of the literacy bags, but recognize that the activities are to be enjoyed as a family, so the story sometimes almost becomes second to the time you spend together!
Manipulatives abound, a stuffed character is almost always included and there may be a writing activity for your child to complete.
Along with the literacy bag, each student is given their Family Journal to bring home. This is the place that the parents get to tell me about the learning that they witnessed and the opportunities for growth that they noticed. Please date each entry, write the name of the book and include your observations. The students are excited to tell me what fun they had each time they return their bags but are often saddened because "Mommy didn't have enough time to write." It is my dearest hope that you will look forward to the opportunity to snuggle and play with your child through these fun (and educational) literacy bags.
They'll be sent home this Thursday (as there is a PD Day on Friday) to all Grade 2 students who have returned the contracts signed.