Readbox: High Interest Reading

Sep 29, 2015

After reading Summer Reading and participating in a book study with many of the teachers in my building, we knew something needed to be added.  Our students needed more reading at home.  But how?

How do we help our students WANT to read at home?  How do we get them so excited to read that they can't even WAIT to get home just to read the book?

Through a series of conversations, text messages, and brainstorming, we came up with "Readbox."  The idea was to have a big bookshelf outside during dismissal (we are a walking school).  The "box" would be filled with high, HIGH interest books.  I am talking about princess book, super hero books, comics, lots of Mo Willems, nonfiction, and the list continues.  Families can pick out a book together and check it out from me and my Title I teammate, Sarah.

So that is it.  The idea was formed and then the ball just started rolling.

1. We started buying books.  Garage sales and Half Price Books.  I raided my girls' library for the overabundance of princess books that they have.  Donations started coming in from anyone that heard about the idea.

2. App--Checking out and checking in the books needed to be efficient and easy because dismissal is a quick time period.  Sarah and I decided to go with "Book Retriever."  All the books could be loaded for checkout and checkin.

3. A large bookshelf that was sturdy, cheap, and on wheels was needed.  My teammate found one in a garage sale group!  I bought it the next day.

4. The shelf was perfect but we needed a back.  So I added a peg board--more places to hang book baskets! needed to be RED!

5.  Check-in and Check-out. We had an app to help us with this but what about the details.  For example, where would the students return the books to?  Would it just be another thing on the teachers' plates?  Sarah and I also do breakfast duty.  The kids hand us their books when they walk in the building or they can place them in the red crate on their way to class.

That's it.

We were ready.  The books were all stamped (with a red "Readbox" stamp).  A sign was hanging up outside.  The bookshelf was labeled.  Sarah and I introduced the Readbox during our Open House night before school started.  Our goal was to wheel the bookshelf outside at dismissal twice a week.

But the true test...would they come?  Would they take the time to check out a book?

So here's what happened...

They did come and are coming.  In the month of August (10 days only) we had 145 books returned.  The month of September...380.  That is AMAZING!!  Sarah and I have been creating a graph in the hallway so that students can see all their great reading.  The graph is actually now going across the ceiling because SO many books have been returned!

The books have been such a hit!  Our Mo Willems basket is almost ALWAYS empty!  Kids are seen reading their books as they wait for their siblings.  I see their parents dragging them to their cars because their noses are in a book :)  But here are some of my all time favorites:

*Our goal was to roll out twice a week but we roll out everyday 
because the students get upset when we are not out there!
*They are requesting books from us!
*At breakfast, students initiate book conversations with me and Sarah!

My heart will continue to pour into the Readbox as we add more books to it this year, encourage families to check out books, and help students connect to books that they love.
Thank you so much to everyone that has supported our efforts this year.


  1. Wow! I know how much personal time this endeavor took. What a generous thing you both have done for your community of students. You are truly my role model. Thanks for all you do for the children!!!
    First Grade
    Cambria, California

  2. Yay! I'm so excited to see your graph on the ceiling already- and it is only September! I hope your students' excitement continues. :) I'll keep on the lookout for more books!


  3. Your collaborative team works so well together to creatively inspire the best in your kids! Nice job again.

  4. What a truly amazing story. To get kids and families to read, we have to give them opportunities to read. Great job you two!!!


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