When my oldest started kindergarten, I excitedly attended parent orientation night. We heard about the coming year and all the learning and growing the children would do. Reading in just a few months!
As part of practicing their budding reading abilities, books would be sent home every week for the child to read to a parent. With everyone progressing at different rates, appropriate levels of early reader books would be assigned individually.
This was so exciting!
Then I saw that the books and reading logs were sent home in plastic ziplock baggies. Here was the perfect opportunity for me to make a difference.
My business was just an idea at this point, but this project is probably the final push I needed to get going.
I volunteered to make a set of reusable bags for the books to go back and forth from school to home. And I wanted them to be used for more than one school year.
Fast forward three years and my youngest now has the same kindergarten teacher. And she is still using the same bags, which warms my heart to no end!
Doing quick math shows over 100 plastic baggies NOT used because of the book bags I made. Factor in more to account for replacing grungy/torn/lost baggies throughout a single year. No one has lost any of the handmade bags.
With more flexibility in my schedule this year for volunteering at school, I knew I wanted the job of filling the book bags each week. For many months, I've seen increasingly challenging books being sent home. I have had nothing to do with teaching these children how to read, but I can't help but feel proud of them each time a child was assigned a more challenging book.
Here are some photos detailing my design. If anyone is interested, please let me know and I am happy to put together a tutorial.
Crayon fabric seemed just about perfect.
Easy to open zipper top.
Large enough to hold 2-3 reading practice books and supporting materials.
A clear name slot on the front so that new name cards can be inserted each year.
Ripstop nylon lining for durability, though a cotton fabric would serve the same purpose.
Book bags filled with a new week of reading materials.
This week is my last volunteering in the classroom. What a lovely feeling knowing that the book bags, still in like-new condition, will continue to be used for years to come.
Each small victory over disposable plastic is a good one!
As co-owner of Stitchery in Portsmouth, RI, I teach sewing classes to children and adults. Welcome to my blog Dancing Threads RI.