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Book Boxes in 3rd Grade
Old 06-14-2011, 04:54 PM
 
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I have been having a debate with whether or not I like the idea of book boxes in third grade. I was trained in Reading Workshop, have used it since student teaching, and really love the approach, but am not sure if book boxes are appropriate once students start reading more advanced texts.

My concern is that if students are reading books at home (like I hope they are!), listening to our class read aloud, reading a book for guided reading, and then reading other literature during independent reading time (once their guided reading assignment is read), on top of possibly reading with an intervention pull out group, that is an awful lot to keep track of. I am afraid that since they are reading so many things at once, students may not be reading as deeply as I'd hope.

What are your thoughts on this? How do you balance student reading materials? In our school everyone grades K-4 use book boxes, but it just isn't quite sitting right with me (everyone else loves it... or doesn't have a better solution either!). Also, I love that they choose so much of what they get to read so I don't want to limit that either. I'd love to sort through this more before next year! Thanks!


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Old 06-14-2011, 06:44 PM
 
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What are Book Boxes?
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Old 06-15-2011, 04:07 AM
 
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Book boxes are just a place (I use magazine files) for students to keep their reading materials. My debate is not really with the boxes themselves, but with how many texts I should reasonably be expecting a third grader to read and meaningfully keep track of at once. I see book boxes working great for younger students who are reading shorter books and can gather several books to read without having to get up and "shop" frequently. I just don't know how much I really want to encourage my students who are into the heavier and more complex chapter books to be trying to read so many books at a time.
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Old 06-15-2011, 06:37 AM
 
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My third graders have book boxes. I read a class read-aloud and my students are to have ONE chapter book of their own. If they have one of my chapter books, their library book from the school library must be a picture book or nonfiction book of some kind. I do my guided reading with short books and passages so this is done quickly each day and doesn't get mixed up as much. Students can have up to 3 picture books total AND can choose ONE of my kid magazines too.
I have them keep a light packet of basic graphic organizers for my read-aloud just to ensure that they're comprehending the story (great informal assessment) and they do more detailed reader response journals for their chapter book progress daily. I also have them choose one picture book from their weekly box to respond to in some form on Friday. They seem to be keeping it all very straight and enjoying the variety of materials.

I don't know if that helps but that's my frame of reference for you
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Old 06-15-2011, 06:01 PM
 
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I have something similar to MissHopeful. My third graders have a book box, in which they keep 2-3 just right books, and then up to 3 "other" books (they could be picture books, magazines, challenge books, etc.). They also keep their Reading Notebooks in their book box. I did say that students were allowed to keep books for up to 2 weeks, so that if they are reading a longer chapter book, they have the time to finish. I also check in frequently at the beginning of the year to make sure they don't have 10 chapter books in there, that they won't be able to finish in the 1-2 weeks. I found it worked well organizationally.


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Thanks!
Old 06-17-2011, 04:53 AM
 
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Thanks! I think if I can find a way to teach more strategies for using their notebooks and post its, as well as how to self monitor if you are reading too much, they will be ok. I like the way you both encouraged other materials too. I have loads of that stuff in my room, but feel like they all run to the chapter books. I might also work to promote those other options more.
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Thoughts on comments made in this Thread
Old 06-29-2011, 04:05 PM
 
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I just read "READICIDE" and would recommend all of you read it. I have learned so much about how we are dissecting reading and not allowing our kids to READ. I would suggest everyone try to read this book. It has made me step back and think about what I want my students to learn when it comes to reading. I want them to read not tear a book apart. Just a thought.
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I use book boxes
Old 07-01-2011, 01:57 PM
 
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I use book boxes in Grade 3. I love them... the students do their own book 'shopping' and fill their boxes with 6-8 books. They book shop when they have read what is in their box (if they have chosen Read to Self time, they know they can use 2-3 minutes to book shop before settling in to read). I know what they are reading, as I individually conference with them and work on each student's set goal. I don't tend to give them 'assignments' to complete during read to self time, but I do encourage them to practice whatever reading strategy we are working on. For example, when we were working on 'check for understanding' you could actually see students stopping, and asking themselves who? what? When we were working on 'good readers ask questions before, during and after reading" some students used "I Wonder" bookmarks to record their questions while reading.
I also liked the book boxes because if a student was done their bellwork before our other grade 3 friends, (s)he would grab his/her box and a pillow, find a quiet spot and read until I called the class back together.
Readicide sounds very interesting! I'll have to look into it. I have definitely been working towards having my students love reading... and have had parents comment that their children are more likely to pick up a book at home.
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author?
Old 07-01-2011, 03:07 PM
 
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Who is the author of Readicide?
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Book Boxes
Old 07-09-2011, 10:53 AM
 
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Does each child have their own book box or is there one per table group? Also, if they each have their own, where are they kept? How big, etc. are the boxes?


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book boxes
Old 07-09-2011, 12:23 PM
 
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Each student has their own. I store them in groups of 4 or 5 around the classroom, so all the students aren't running to one location at the same time. I buy mine at Ikea. I think they are classified as magazine holders. I've attached a picture of some book boxes sitting on our back counter.
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I don't call mine book boxes with the kids
Old 07-09-2011, 01:36 PM
 
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I call them "work boxes." Of course, I teach SpEd so it's a little different for me. I have them keep a notebook, their reading journal, and a couple library books in there. Sometimes they add any unfinished work to it as well.

They learn early on that the "work box" is their go-to spot as soon as they are done with any given assigned work. Occasionally, I go thru and put a worksheet or other independent activity in there. I also, very occasionally, will put a coloring sheet, game, maze, or similar in there.

P.S. Due to being a Sp/Ed teacher, there are often unanticipated interruptions throughout my day by other adults. It looks really impressive to outsiders because by the end of first 10 days or so, if someone comes in and I think it will take more than 5 minutes, I can just point to the work boxes and any students in small group with me, go there without argument or even further instructions.
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3rd grade book boxes
Old 07-09-2011, 06:01 PM
 
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I ask my students to have 5 items:
a book of poetry
a picture book
a chapter book
a nonfiction book
a magazine

They replace items once a week during their library time.
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Old 07-10-2011, 04:09 AM
 
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I am thinking about using cereal boxes this year for my book boxes. Way cheaper.....

I love all of the ideas for boundaries of what to put in them. Thanks.
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Book boxes
Old 07-10-2011, 07:11 AM
 
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I use book boxes in my third grade and love them! The greatest advantage I think is that kids have a much better handle on what they are reading. I've seen better involvement with my kids having book boxes. We keep 3-4 books in them and I used to mandate what goes in them but I stopped once I realized that many of the kids had valid reasons for having certain books in there. If someone was studying poetry I would expect them to have more poetry books in their box. Ihad a boy who noticed a style of book by the same author so he went on a hunt to find books by so he could compare the features. He probably had seven books by her. But he was certainly involved and applying all sorts of reading strategies.
The greater concern for me would be that he miss out on that because he didn't have "space" for another book. I also watch to make sure kids are reading different things. If someone goes three weeks with only reading one kind of book then I would step in and move them along.

So I would say a big ole yes to book boxes!!!
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have you considered bags......
Old 07-10-2011, 07:27 AM
 
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My Teaching partners and I use "Book Bags". We have used the largest Ziploc (Freezer size) and computer label (or Vista Print!) them and write the students' names in Sharpies.

MOST kids (and I teach 5/6) are able to keep the same bag for the entire year (been doing it for 4 years) and they are WAY cheaper than eating all that cereal or using magazine holders.

Each bag is supposed to have 2 books (the one you are reading and the next book) and these bags ended up getting named "Next Reads" (I think we read it in a Debbie Diller book?). The kids usually keep their Reader's Notebook in here as well. Each child is responsible for his/her own bag which are stored in their individual bins (we don't let the kids access the inside of their desks.....everything is stored in their bin on a shelf ~ another story!)

Hope this helps
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Book Boxes...
Old 07-10-2011, 01:38 PM
 
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What a fantastic way to insure VARIETY and check comprehension with the organizers! If you have a small room where do you suggest to store the book boxes? I teach 2nd ...looking into a form of this for my students. thanks for your input.
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Old 07-10-2011, 01:48 PM
 
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Thanks so much!
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Also use book bags
Old 07-10-2011, 06:18 PM
 
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I also use book bags. I buy the 2 gallon Ziplock bags and they last most of the year for most kids. The kids pack the book bags before they go home at night and are required to bring them back first thing in the morning. They slide under their desks for ready access during reading workshop or any other free reading time. I switched from boxes to bags in third grade for the very same reason that they wanted to take their chapter books home and back to school with them. They didn't want to be in the middle of so many books at once. The book bags have worked great for me!

They have to keep 2 books from my library (which they can trade any time) and two books from the school library (which they can trade once a week) at all times. I periodically check them or I have table buddies check each other. Sometimes parent volunteers help me keep track of their book bags too.
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How I use book boxes
Old 07-11-2011, 05:47 AM
 
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I have book boxes but they keep learning journals, magazines and clippings or printouts of things the student is wanting to learn more about. You are right they need to be reading their library books but sometimes want something else to look at. I really push for them to read over their learning journal for a little while because it refreshes their minds on things we have gone over in class. They may even want to add to their learning journal from some of the things they are reading. Any pictures they want to draw in the journal can't be drawn during reading time. We use Reading Counts test on the computer and all the students are required to read and test and this keeps them responsible for reading library books. Sometimes their library books may spark an interest in information they might want to read on. We can print that off during computer time and put it in the book box. Another fun thing for weary readers is Jokes.
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Cheap Book Buckets
Old 07-12-2011, 11:42 AM
 
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This may sound strange, but I use ice bins from Walmart for my book buckets. They cost $1.88. They are in the household section - they are white and what you saw in freezers before automatic ice machines. I have been using book buckets for years and love having them. I don't have any rules about using them because no one gives me rules while I am at home of what I should/shouldn't read. I teach the kids how to use them effectively - don't hang a book over the edge so it doesn't rip it, empty and refill as you need to (although at times I do help kids get new books). I LOVE that kids have a pile of possible books to read....just like on my nightstand.

When I am working with a student who may need assitance choosing new books, I say "What is your 'now' book?" "What is your 'next' book?" and "What is your 'last favorite' book?" These are not my words - I read them somewhere and just love them.
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Book Boxes
Old 07-13-2011, 09:53 AM
 
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Thanks for the reply and the picture. That helps!!
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Book boxes
Old 07-14-2011, 11:48 AM
 
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Target has plastic file book bin in many colors for $2.50 each. They are in stores now and they will go fast. Also, my two cents: readers should have book boxes k-5. Provides a place to put self selected books. This is a routine necessary for reading workshop again k-5.
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I use book bags, but a different kind...
Old 07-14-2011, 04:44 PM
 
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Since space is an issue in my classroom, I use the recyclable tote-type grocery bags for books; they hang nicely on the backs of our chairs and can hold LOTS of reading material. They are about $1.49 each at Target or similiar stores and held up pretty well... some handles got broken when kids pushed them too far down on their chairs, but they made do for the whole year. I actually thought of asking each student to bring their own in, then we could 'personalize' them with fabric markers, glitter glue, etc.

I really liked the bags because they were easily accessible, could be carried to a different location for reading, and were out of the way when the students were engaged in other things. They worked well during our 'shopping' times, too!
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Book Boxes
Old 07-20-2011, 07:05 PM
 
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I prefer the large Ziploc bags. The other third grade teacher gets white magazine holders from IKEA. I think they are 4 for 5 dollars (whatever - very reasonable). The kids decorate them and take them home at the end of the year. Or, you can decorate them and use them again. They're sturdier than cereal boxes.
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Thanks
Old 07-22-2011, 08:15 AM
 
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I've been going back and forth between boxes and bags. I think I have decided on the boxes after reading all the posts. I especially liked that one teacher can add stuff such as a puzzle, maze, coloring page, etc. I think this would be a great Friday fun activity after they read! I checked IKEA's website and the magazine holders are 5 for $1.99. Awesome price, I need 75-105 (depending on class size) because I teach 3 5th grade reading classes, so this is probably the best bet for me. Class size varies yearly, but luckily I haven't gone over 35 to a class, so that's why I count 105 as my high estimate!!!
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Old 07-22-2011, 09:13 AM
 
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Teaching 30,

I'll have to read that book. I get talked about by co-workers because of the way I handle reading in my classroom. It's interesting thought...my students test extremely high and even carry a book to recess with them.

I read aloud everyday, have a silent reading time in the classroom everyday, don't require a reading log or book reports, other than long term projects the only nightly homework is reading (without a log), and when I notice a student is having a difficult time concentrating I send them to classroom library for some quiet reading and refocusing time.
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ikea
Old 07-25-2011, 12:01 PM
 
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I just checked the IKEA site and you can't order them online! Why?! That is such a great price. The closest store is over an hour away, UGH, thanks for the tip though
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book boxes
Old 07-25-2011, 07:36 PM
 
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I just bought really cute colorful magazine boxes from Target in the dollar section. I'm going to try and go to another target to get 25 more for the following school year! They are super cute and cheap
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Table Box
Old 07-27-2011, 06:23 AM
 
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To save transport time, going to the box/returning from the box, I put an extra good sized basket at each table. Each member could keep 3-4 books in it. Once a week, I'd do a "Reading Check" - asking "What's in your reading pile?" Each table dumped the box, readers claimed their books, unclaimed books were returned to bins. I could quickly match what was being read with what was recorded in the reading log and get a sense of independent reading needs. I could work with kids on future reading plans or possibilities, work on their "book choice" strategies. It gave a place to talk about reasons for "abandoning" books.

It was also a good way to circulate thematic books or class author books - books were shared in a table basket for a week and then moved to another table, until all had opportunity to look through. Afterwards, the books went to the classroom shelves. Anyone really interested in a longer read could get them for personal choice in the book basket. It was a nice way to get books circulating.

On the downside, it's a little overwhelming for lower readers, they would throw in an over their level chapter book to "appear" more advanced. Always something to think about, isn't there??
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reusable shopping bags
Old 08-06-2011, 01:26 PM
 
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I have used the book boxes for the past 4 years and I have had purchase new boxes every two years because they are not durable, especially with heavy books. So this year, I am going to try using reusable shopping bags. I am requesting that children bring one from home, since almost everyone has one now. This will help save me money too.
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Love this idea..
Old 08-07-2011, 08:11 AM
 
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I'm going from 2nd to 1st this year, and have been using the Walmart ice buckets- A couple of negatives 1- they take up a lot of space, 2- they fall over easily with hardback picture books, and 3- since they are white, by the end of the year- DIRTY! I usually spend a good hour cleaning them. BUT they are plastic and sturdy!

I do like the idea of of reusable bags. A thought...Target has those dr seuss bags for a $1.oo....good price and perfect for all types of books. They could be put in buckets in locations around the room, an idea...Or if you have loop hangers, they could be stickied to a wall low enough to the floor so, they wouldn't break the loop hanger, and on different walls around the room. Then students wouldn't be tripping over bags. So many possibilities. Thanks for the bag idea!
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Old 08-07-2011, 08:48 AM
 
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I use the IKEA magazine holders as book boxes. They last a year, but could last longer if you reinforced with tape. I make a trip each summer to buy them and usually find other things, too. It is about one and a half hours for me to get to IKEA.

My students keep a variety of books in their boxes. During independent reading time they are reading from their boxes. I usually assign everyone a day to shop for new books. I don't want my students trading books every day.
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Old 08-07-2011, 06:37 PM
 
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Kelly Gallagher I believe!
Very thought provoking book.
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Old 08-28-2011, 10:37 AM
 
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We starting having the kids bring in an empty cereal box. They cover it with construction paper and decorate it to make it their own. They get to use that as their book box.
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