Sunday, June 1, 2014

Promote summer reading with a book swap

A book swap is a great way to promote summer reading! It is easy to set up and lots of fun. Here's how it works:

-Kids bring in books that they have already read. They bring them to the designated place and receive a ticket for each book.
-On the day of the book swap, teachers and students spread out the books on tables. This could be done lovingly and with great care (if you have extra time in the last week of school--ha ha!) or hastily (my preferred method).
-Kids with tickets come and get first pick of "new" books to read for the summer.
-Everyone else can come and pick out a book.

Now, it might sound as if only the kids who donate books get to pick new ones. But it never works out that way. We always have such an abundance of donated books that every kid gets to choose at least one. Usually we end up giving away tons of extras!

Why does this happen? There are always parents who take advantage of the book swap to do some spring cleaning, donating 20+ books. The kids with this many tickets freely give away tickets to friends. Teachers (including me!) also take advantage of the chance to clear the bookshelves a bit. I make sure that any tickets I get find their way into the hands of students. Even with this giving away of tickets we always end up with extra books. It is a great and wonderful mystery of life.

One parent note home and repeated announcements are usually enough to ensure participation. In fact, I've been surprised at how many students join in. Every student in my school received two free books from RIF (Reading Is Fundamental) this year, and many of these books are brought in. It's neat to see how RIF books can bring reading to multiple kids.

A book swap is a free way to promote summer reading, and it is a nice activity to get kids reading in the last week of school. Have you tried a book swap? Share any tips or stories that you have!

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