Friday, November 28, 2014

Holiday Book Exchange

Hi everyone! Happy Black Friday to you! Alisha here, from Missing Tooth Grins and I hope you enjoyed your Thanksgiving yesterday. I know all of us at The Primary Pack are so thankful for you, our readers. 

I'm here to tell you about how I hold a holiday book exchange in my classroom. It's simple, easy, and to the point and I hope that it saves you some time this holiday season. After all, this time of year is crazy for all of us! Especially teachers, am I right? 

On the last day of school before our winter break, I always hold a holiday book exchange. I love for the kids to have a new book to take home over the winter break. My only hope is that they actually read the book :)

During the first week of December, I send a letter home explaining the book exchange. Click the picture below for a free copy of the letter.

I'll send this letter home Monday on the 1st when we come back to school. I usually send it home with a Scholastic book order that I will place an order from before the last week. I want to give parents enough time to pick up the book if they are buying one. After all, as you guys know, the holidays get crazy and I don't want to add any extra holiday stress. Sometimes I start receiving the books right after I send the letter home, but most of the time I receive a majority of the books the last week of school before break.

When I start receiving books, I put them under our tiny little Christmas tree. The only picture I have of this tree from last year has a little sneaky friend on top, but I want you to see our tree :)

So, all the books under this tiny little tree!

On the last day of school before break, each child grabs the book he/she brought. The class sits in a circle around the carpet. And, I read the best Christmas story of all...

There's a lot of variations of this book, but the Jan Brett one is my favorite. I mean, who doesn't love Jan Brett? I read this book and every time I read the word the, the students pass the book to their right. I know there's a lot of variations on how to pass the books, but I like to keep it simple for my firsties. Plus, they really get a kick out of the pages that have the like a gazillion times.

There you have it! New books for all!

What do you do when a child doesn't bring a book? This has happened every year that I've had the book exchange. I think the important part is to just let it go. The point of the book exchange is that every child leaves with a new book so you just have to make that happen. One year, two days before the exchange (which was two days past the due date), I didn't have everyone's books so I looked through my classroom library for books that were new and very gently used. I conveniently didn't have my name in them yet like I normally do. Last year, I ordered a few extra dollar books from Scholastic. You could also buy a few new books at your local book store if you can afford that. I take them home and wrap them in different wrapping paper so no one really realizes that I brought them in. I've also had parents donate extra already wrapped books!

What if a parent doesn't want their child to participate? I've never had this happen before, but anything is possible. Obviously, it is ultimately up to the parent and you have to follow those wishes.

What do you do if a child gets a book he/she already has? If this happens, I ask the class if anyone wants to trade. I also do this if a boy gets a Barbie book or princess book or something of that nature and wants to trade. It's never a big deal!

What do you get your students for Christmas? This year, I ordered some $1 books from Scholastic, but I used my Scholastic points. Woo! I also plan on buying some candy canes while I'm out Black Friday shopping :)

And, that's all! I hope you all enjoyed reading and hope you all have a successful holiday book exchange in your own classroom! Happy holidays to you!


  1. Oh my goodness!! I absolutely LOVE this idea! I definitely want to do a book exchange this year! Fantastic idea and great post, as always my friend!!
    -Elyse @ A is for Apples

  2. I seriously love this idea, Alisha! I'm going to today do this with my 3rd graders this year!!

  3. Great idea, Alisha! I can't wait to try this out with my kinders!! Thanks for sharing! :)
    Miss Peluso's Kindergarten

  4. Great post, Alisha! We've done a book exchange in the past too. I have the boys sit in a circle together and the girls sit in another circle. Then, I read the book "The Gimgerbread Man," and we pass our books every time I read the word "man." So much fun! Thanks for sharing your letter!

    One Sharp Bunch

  5. I LOVE this idea and will definitely use your letter and try it this year!!

    The Benders Bunch

  6. This is ingenious! We do a Christmas Tree for a family too and I may take this idea and and extend it to a Christmas Book Tree! I am going to do the Holiday Book Exchange this with my sweet firsties.
    Thank you,

  7. This is a great idea! Thanks for sharing! Do you have an editable version of the letter?!

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