The Anatomy of a Book Baggie

05 August 2016

Ever wonder what to put in your students' book baggies or how to manage them?  This post will answer all those burning questions!

I like to start independent reading the first week of school.  I feel like it is an important part of our daily routine.

To get started with book baggies, you need actual book baggies.  I had originally purchased the book baggie above from Really Good Stuff and honestly they did not last a whole year.  The plastic broke in the corners on most of them.  I should have bought this version of them instead.

So the following year, I went with the book baggies below.  They are from and they held up well.  I liked how the strap was long enough to fit over the back of the students' chairs.  This made it easy for me to see who was about to forget to bring their's home at the end of the day.

For the big chairs (yup, the chairs in my room don't all kills me), I used Michelle Oakes' Neat Seats to hold the book baggies. 

Here is what is in my students' book baggies at the beginning of first grade.

You can find the label and Word Ring for FREE here: 

The students have their Words of the Week on their word rings.  To read a post about my Words of the Week packet, click {HERE}.

The reading strategy bookmark is part of this packet:

My leveled library books are from various sources.  I prefer the quality of the ones from the major publishing companies like the Rigby PM Leveled Readers.  My students pick five books on their independent reading level and place those in their book baggie.   Of course if a child asks to borrow a book on a higher or lower level, I let them.  It is just an additional book to their five books.  All of my leveled library books are stored in bins and labeled by levels.  You can find the labels {HERE}.

To figure out my students' independent reading level, I test them using Fountas & Pinnell's Benchmark Assessment System.

*When I instruct my students during guided reading, I use their instructional reading level. 

I meet with each individual student once a week during D.E.A.R. Time (Drop Everything and Read)/Independent reading time.   I try and meet with five students a day; it really depends on my class size.  Five students per day would allow me to meet with 25 students a week.  

I can easily tell if a child has been practicing his/her book baggie and word ring during our weekly conferences.  If they need more practice, they keep the book or books for another week.  

Later in the year, during first grade, my students' book baggie looks like this:

The difference this book baggie and the one from the begging of the year is that the comprehension expectations have increased and the book baggie now includes comprehension cards.  I add the comprehension cueing cards for parents to question their children at home.  I have a color version of the cards that I use in class.  I find the consistency and visual prompts help my students.  You can find those cards {HERE}.

I make sure to explain book baggies, instructional reading levels, independent reading levels, and word rings to parents on Meet the Teacher Night and in my General Information Packet.

I hope this post helped to better explain book baggies to you.  Leave any questions in the comments.


  1. I love this so much! So do you just meet with the kiddos individually or do you do guided reading groups in addition to this?

    1. Yes, we do guided reading separately during literacy centers. You can look at how I run my day here:

  2. This is a great system. I love that the comprehension questions use consistent visual cues (I work with kids on the spectrum, too) and that there is consistency in the system all the way through the year. Not having to figure out new instructions or a different way of doing things each time is such a huge benefit to our kids.


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