Start a Home Reading Program

There is no doubt that reading at home is one of the best ways children can stay on track and even get ahead in on their learning path.  The "reading at home" research is well-documented, and where books are abundant in the home, this is not a problem.  Creating a Home Reading Program in your class, grade level, K-2 classes or even schoolwide, really levels the playing field and eliminates disparities about the number of books in the home. 

When I taught first grade at Swift Creek Elementary, I had been teaching about 15 years and I had acquired a lot of books over years....both children's book and little leveled readers.  Using websites like Scholastic Book Wizard, I was able to level most of the little readers and many of my children's book to create a Home Reading Book Cart.   I would then solicit parent volunteers to come in daily, usually I had a Monday parent, a Tuesday parent, etc. that would come in on a weekly basis, or bi-weekly basis, listen to kids read and trade out home reading books each day.  

You can do Home Reading INSIDE your classroom, with Moms....

with Dads.....

or right outside the classroom, in the hallway, where it's a little quieter.

Uponing opening Lake Myra, getting a Home Reading program started in every K-2 classroom was one of our first priorities.  For the books, we purchased several classroom licenses to  We printed and copied 15-20 single titles from the leveled books available on this site.

I purchased plastic totes/baskets from the Dollar Store..( 9 per cart/classroom), available in the store or online from

I purchased 15 storage racks from to be the Home Reading Cart.

Sturdy plastic envelopes were purchased from which last all year long.
The Kindergarten team opted not to use the plastic envelopes but used gallon size ziploc bags instead, and taped these labels to the inside of the bags.
Inside the folder is a letter explaining Home Reading to parents.

Here is letter soliciting parent volunteers to help with Home Reading.

You can also include a Reading Strategy card or bookmark for students.

In our second year, we added another feature to the Home Reading program, and this is Parent Read-Alouds.  In Kindergarten and 1st grade, in addition to a leveled book for students to read each night, students also take a Parent Read-Aloud book for parents to read to their child.  This book is typically one to two years above their reading the child's listening comprehension level.   Each year in Wake County, our library has Friends of the Library Sale, however, the day before the sale opens to the public, they offer the books to Wake County teachers for many as you want, or in my case, as many that could fit in my van.

Parent Read-Aloud labels were attached to each book in the Parent Read-Aloud bucket.

Now, when students take turns reading to parents  in the hall, they choose a new leveled book each night and a new book for their parents to read to them.

And on most Monday - Thursday mornings, this is what the first grade hallway looks like. :-)

Happy Reading! - Jennifer



Katie and Steve said...

Your blog has so many inspiring ideas! We've awarded you the Sunshine Award!


Keri said...

I also awarded you the Sunshine Award. I love your ideas and follow you on Pinterest. Thank you so much for sharing and inspiring.

Lauren LaRae said...

Do you have your parents ask particular comprehension questions or how do they monitor that?

I would LOVE to make this happen at my school!
LaRae H.

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