Students need ready access to the books they bring home from class. My solution is to provide each child with a “HOME Book Box”. I bought colorful file boxes from Office Depot and printed out a full-sheet label to personalize each box. When I hand out a box to each student I also include a couple of sheets of stickers they can use to decorate the box. Students like stickers! I buy them at the dollar store.
We always read our “decodable” books in class multiple times during the week. I don’t like to send home books that the student is not familiar with. Reading as a class and individually throughout the week allows me to help them be successful in the secure classroom environment.
Each child gets two copies of each book. I stamp one book “SCHOOL” and the other “HOME”. I had the re-inkable stamps made at Office Depot. The “SCHOOL” book stays in the student's classroom book basket. The “HOME” book goes home on Thursday as homework.
I often ask the students, “When you are finished with your homework where should you put your books? In the fridge? No! In the bathtub? No! Under the couch? No! Where? I hope they respond “In my Book Box!”.
The students are often reminded to take out their Book Box when relatives and friends come over so they can practice their reading read with them. Most everything in the box should be something they can be successful reading. Reading to family and friends is great for building confidence.
In my classroom our motto is "Use the Clues". It's a way of reminding ourselves to look closely at an unknown word we are trying to read. What's the first letter sound? The last letter sound? How long is the word? Is there a picture that can help? Students need to be taught to use strategies. They learn to rely on the skills they have to decipher the words they are reading.