Book Buddies!

Every year I go to a local book fair at Holland Hall School.  I load up on the best stuffed animals and books for a very reasonable price.  I use them to make book buddies.  This year while piling up my stuffed animals – I had a great idea.  Why not buy tote bags and let each child have a book buddy in their cubby for reading time?  (Previously, I had sent the book buddies home on a rotating basis.)  I went to Oriental Trading and found the best deal on personalized totes!

 Twenty-four personalized totes cost just $45.00 from Oriental Trading.
 Every child has a book buddy bag hanging in their cubby.
 Inside each bag is a special book “buddy” — a stuffed animal.
 The children may bring out their book buddy to read with.  There is no “play” with the book buddy.  They are strictly a reading buddy.
 The joy of one student as she greets her book buddy for the first time!
 Oh, how this makes my teacher heart go pitter patter!  Reading everywhere!
Here’s a few tips for making your own:
  • Find stuffed animals at thrift stores, resale shops and local book fairs.  They wash up quite well!
  • Better yet, ask parents to donate stuffed animals.  (You could team up with a colleague and trade stuffed animals so your students do not get their own!)
  • Use this bag as a Home Reading Program.  Include a reading log with the books and minutes per day recorded.


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  1. Amber says:

    I gave you the One Lovely Blog award! Come check it out!

    Sparkles, Smiles, and Student Teaching

  2. Tammy says:

    What an absolutely fantastic idea!! I think a online visit to Oriental Trading is in order! This idea could work for 4th graders and independent reading. So long ziploc bags and expensive magazine holders! Thanks!

    Confessions of a Fourth Grade Teacher

  3. Oh… so cute.

  4. hilda dada says:

    I am following your blog regularly and got great information. I really like the tips you have given. Thanks a lot for sharing. Will be referring a lot of friends about this. Keep blogging custom gift packaging

  5. Jenny Zender says:

    I do a reading bag. In it I include books, a literacy game and a math game. The feedback I had from parents was always positive and that they didn’t realize they needed to work on those skills with their child. So the games helped my parents with ideas to work on at home too. There is also a journal for the families to share their thoughts about the books they have read. They can then go back and see what books they have enjoyed and which they didn’t like the most. I like the idea of a reading buddy. I may have to do this too. Thanks!

    • Sally says:

      I love the inclusion of the literacy game and math game. My kindergarten team developed something like this a few years back and you are so right. It really helped the parents to see the missing skills.

  6. Adelheid says:

    Hi Sally,
    I love this idea!!! This weekend I am off to hunt for reading buddies. How many books do you usually put in the bag? How many days do the children keep them at home for? Do the kids pick the books?

    Did you happen to read the article from titled “Can Reading Logs Ruin Reading for Kids?” Let me know your thoughts on it.

    Many thanks for sharing another great idea 😉

    • Sally says:

      I have altered how I did this year to year – changing things up based on the children in my classroom and what engaged them. I did let the children pick their books at the time of this photo. Five was standard. I have also selected the books to be on level for their reading level. Honestly, both ways the children loved it! Regarding the Reading Logs – such food for thought. I think there is real and valid concern. One year I had a Book Rating sheet where the children just rated the book 0-5 stars. This was a hit.

  7. Andrea says:

    Love this idea!

    • Sally says:

      It’s so sweet to see the joy on the children’s faces when they see their new buddies. It does make reading time a meaningful time if you have “someone” to read to!

  8. Hi
    Dally we have a children’s centre in Yorkkshire In the UK
    We do “Book Share” every week the children use a book and place it in their Book Share bag
    & we also have in there a small personalised note pad
    The staff write any comments about “Why their child chose the book ” and Parents then write comments Ie
    About how the child made language comments to describe the contents of the Book. We have done this for several years & it is a huge success
    But I love the Personalised Bags that would be Fantastic
    Thank you so much for your ideas we use many of them & adapt them to suit the ages & stages of our younger children
    Thank you so much Donna X

    • Sally says:

      I love the family connection with the book bags! Thanks for sharing this terrific idea!

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