Each day in our preschool classroom we have some time for independent reading right after snack. There are times when this can be a very chaotic. About a year ago I came up with a plan to help organize this time better for the children and they LOVE it (and so do I)! At first, we called them "book bags" and the children headed for the coat closet thinking it was time to go home. Now we call them our "bag of books"!
At the Dollar Store I found these little canvas bags in several colors. I think they were intended to be diaper bags so they have lots of nice little pockets on the outside too! I printed out a name tag that included a picture of the child and laminated it. I also printed out little visual cue cards to remind them what choices they may have while using the bags. The cue card reminds them that they may read quietly, look at a book with a book buddy (beanie baby), or draw and write in their journal. The nametag and visual cue card are tied on to the straps of the bag. You can see the visual cue card as well as the nametag in the picture below.
Each bag of books has a seasonal/thematic book, an alphabet book, and a book with some sort of math concept. The books in the bag are chosen based on the reading level and interests of each child. They also have a small stuffed beanie baby animal to read with. There is a pencil and a journal of blank copy paper to write in. One little boy refers to it as his "field journal" and he enjoys writing and drawing pictures of animals. They also enjoy sharing quietly with one or two children sitting near them while they read and write.
Each child has a quiet spot somewhere around the classroom where they read by themselves. Teachers rotate around and read with individuals too! While they read we play classical music. This is one of our favorite times of day now! It is so peaceful and just beautiful!