Goodbye book bags…hello reading drawers!

August 6, 2012

Goodbye book bags…hello reading drawers!

August 6, 2012

Hey everyone! I am linking up with Tara for her awesome and inspiring…

My Monday Made It was something I’ve been thinking about for awhile now–since the end of last school year in fact!

You see, though I loved our book bags for Reader’s Workshop in the past, they were getting old and worn.

And they were just hard to store!

I tried some of those sticky hooks on the wall, but they would eventually fall off in the humidity. I tried lining them up on some shelves, but they just looked too messy. In the end, we draped them over the chairs in our classroom. This was ok, but they were dragging on the floor. And starting to look pretty dirty.

So I started thinking about my ideal storage in the classroom…the storage that works best for me as a teacher. And how this could maybe work for the students too. And it came down to those lovely, clean Sterilite drawers.

I use them for my files. Hold on, I may have a recent picture…

(ok, so that’s the back of them, but you get the idea!). I’ve had them for years now and they work so well for books, games, any teaching materials I need to keep sorted.

So I thought, why not use something similar for my students’ reading materials? They could store their books and reading journals, pull them out for Reader’s Workshop, then put them away all tidy at the end of workshop. We even tried out a few of my old drawers at the end of the school year. The kids loved them and told me I must use them next year! So cute.

The only thing I was worried about were those larger pictures books that may not fit in the drawers…since the ones I have for my files are for 8.5 by 11 inch paper.

Well, it took me awhile, but I finally stumbled upon a solution…

Those extra-wide drawers designed to hold scrapbook paper!! I thought these would be the best to hold many different-sized books. 
One thing to note…the drawers have a little catch on the side, to prevent them from falling out. Most come out easily anyhow, but if some catch as you slide it, you just have to lightly push on the plastic side of the drawer (they’re flexible) and it slides right out.

So, we’ll be using these drawers to store our independent reading books, reading journals, sticky notes (not those fancy ones you see in the picture, those are MINE!), and a couple of pens/pencils. 
That way everything will be together and ready to go for Reader’s Workshop! The drawer can be taken out of the unit and to my students’ favorite reading spots in the room.
And put away all nicely after…no more dragging off the chair, dirty book bags.

Oh, and I almost forgot (thank you to a friendly reader!) I will be using these in addition to the chair pockets I already made. The chair pockets are smaller and meant to hold a book or two that my students will need at a moment’s notice, any time during the day, while at their tables. These drawers are meant for Reader’s Workshop specifically and can hold all of the needed materials.

The Made part in this Monday excitement lies in the labels. I am completely on a numbering craze this summer–thanks to everything I have learned from my blog friends! So easy…no waiting for a class list, just numbered and ready to go! And that’s what I did for my reading drawers today 🙂
And I would love to share the file with you, my wonderful readers! If you’d like to use it, the numbers fit nicely on these wide storage drawers
They could also be used other ways (labeling reading materials, book boxes). I would love to hear what you would use them for, if you’d like to download them. You can download them by clicking on the image below…


  • misscarmencita9c August 6, 2012 at 10:29 pm

    Hi! I LOVE, LOVE your blog! Thank you so much for all you do and share with all of us! I do have a question about this post! A couple of weeks ago you posted on your Nail Apron idea to but student books in, but now I see this post about drawers for books as well. Just wondering which one you were doing this year? or if you were doing both and why? Thanks!

    • Kristen August 6, 2012 at 10:44 pm

      Hi and thanks!! I was just saying, argh, I totally forgot that part and I meant to explain! Thank you for asking!

      The aprons are smaller, so they are to hold a book or two my students can always access right away at their tables for independent reading (plus I'm hoping to put dry erase markers and highlighters in there too!). The reading drawers are specifically for Reader's Workshop and will hold all of the reading materials they need for this. Thanks again!

  • Kimberly Santana August 6, 2012 at 11:08 pm

    So great 🙂 I always love your posts!! Sucha clever lady you are 😉

    The Learning Tree

  • Allison August 6, 2012 at 11:19 pm

    This is awesome!!! I bought book bags about five years ago and keep using them year after year. To say they are worn is an understatement. This idea is so great and practical. Do you mind me asking where you found them? I am guessing most large stores carry them. Thank you so much!


  • Tania August 6, 2012 at 11:21 pm

    These are absolutely gorgeous! I use super cheap dishpans under the kids chairs to house all their notebooks and folders, but I LOVE the look you created here.
    Thanks for sharing,
    My Second Sense

  • Andi August 6, 2012 at 11:29 pm

    Great idea for the big kids! I hope they last much longer than your bags.
    Your flipped signs are gorgeous! Thanks for sharing,

  • Ximena August 6, 2012 at 11:56 pm

    Hi! I am using your numbers for my tables supply boxes. I finished my two outside bulletin boards, today. Tomorrow, my classroom bulletin boards. Pictures are coming tomorrow. Thank you for sharing!!

    • Kristen August 7, 2012 at 12:55 am

      I look forward to it Ximena! 🙂

  • sydney August 6, 2012 at 11:57 pm

    Awesome Kristen! Totally using these tomorrow. Today was our first day. You think I can print them on Avery labels?

    • Kristen August 7, 2012 at 12:56 am

      aw, I hope it was great Sydney!! I don't use labels 'cause I always laminate to make them last–especially now that they are numbered so they don't have to be changed necessarily next year (ha, like I won't change my labels next year!!)

    • sydney August 7, 2012 at 1:30 am

      You crack me up! I laminate EVERYTHING. Teachers make fun of me. I just was thinking of speed at this point. Ha. Everything in my room is from you, well almost. I'll have to send pics!

    • Kristen August 7, 2012 at 1:34 am

      I would love that! But when you're settled with the new year, I know it must be hectic right now!

      If it's a consolation, I'm teased about hot gluing everything in class! 🙂

  • Stephanie August 7, 2012 at 12:00 am

    Excellent idea!! I use book bins in my class with my first graders but I love how neat and organized the drawers look!

    ❤ -Stephanie
    Falling Into First

  • Brandi August 7, 2012 at 12:12 am

    Great idea….storage bins have so many uses in a classroom! Thanks for blogging about the Home Depot aprons last week…they're on my to do list for next week's Monday Made It!

    Success in Second Grade
    Don’t forget to check out My Summer in Pictures Linky Party

  • Rachel Lamb August 7, 2012 at 12:23 am

    very cute! These would be perfect for labeling library baskets, too! Do you think you'll make these in bright and clear? I only ask because I've used all of those and am not using these if you are! =)

    • Kristen August 7, 2012 at 12:57 am

      Hey Rachel, thanks! I don't think I'll get the chance to, I'm sorry!!

  • Becca Morris August 7, 2012 at 12:24 am

    Thanks for sharing. You always have amazing materials. I love your pictures. You are obviously a photographer! I downloaded the labels and I know I will find a use for them.

    Simply 2nd Resources

  • Laurie August 7, 2012 at 12:26 am

    As always…AMAZING!!


  • Miss Willis August 7, 2012 at 12:43 am

    I did the same thing this year. I love your smaller drawers, I'm using the bigger ones which mean more space. It looks so neat and tidy in your room 🙂

    Jen @ The Go To Teacher

  • Annie August 7, 2012 at 12:51 am

    Silly question, but did you use a label to print these on? Which one?

    • Kristen August 7, 2012 at 12:58 am

      Hi Annie, not at all. I don't print onto labels. I make them on cardstock and laminate them so they won't get damaged or spilled on during the year. I'm a little nuts about laminating everything!!

  • Miss Nelson August 7, 2012 at 1:29 am

    Kristen- You have out done yourself this year. I love all of your labels, alphabets, and packets. You are seriously talented.

  • Elizabeth August 7, 2012 at 1:39 am

    I was so busy emailing you back that I didn't even click into my Google Reader until now…and WOW 🙂 These are FANTASTIC! I just love them and you are right. With numbers…we are ready to go on day 1!!!

    Fun in Room 4B

    • Kristen August 7, 2012 at 1:41 am

      Hey, didn't I just talk to you!! Kidding of course and thank you! I'm pretty excited about using them 🙂

  • Lisa R. August 7, 2012 at 1:41 am

    You seriously are a genius!! I love this idea..and your labels are the cutest I have seen. I love your ideas! Thanks for sharing! 🙂
    Learning Is Something to Treasure

    • Kristen August 7, 2012 at 1:42 am

      Thanks Lisa, you always leave the nicest comments. I'm definitely a trifle obsessed with storage at this point, ha! 🙂

  • Stace August 7, 2012 at 2:24 am

    I just have to say…. I LOVE LOVE LOVE your stuff!! I bought your ABC lines and can't wait to print it and hang it up at school! So much nicer than the generic train I have now!

  • Miss R August 7, 2012 at 2:27 am

    One of our 5th grade teachers uses the drawer system. I would love to, but 1. I can't afford it this year, and 2. I don't have the room. 🙁 Your labels look great, though! I used your black basket labels for my class supply containers today. They look beautiful! 🙂

    Miss R's Room

  • Jodi Hammond August 7, 2012 at 2:51 am

    THANK YOU FOR THE IMPRESSIVE AND AWESOME LABELS!!! I'm not sure where/how I'll use them, but I {HEART} them very much!!!!!!

    Thank you for sharing!!!

    Jodi Hammond ~Buffalo, NY

  • Kelly Patrice August 7, 2012 at 2:55 am

    Wow! I love the drawer idea! I just got rid of our book boxes because I didn't have enough shelved for all of them. This would work perfectly! I am hoping I can find a sale on them. I have already gone over budget on my back to school shopping. 🙂

    • The Traveling Teacher August 7, 2012 at 1:42 pm

      Kelly, I have seen drawers like this at Michael's, so you might be able to take advantage of their amazing 40% off coupons.

    • Jen Hight August 8, 2012 at 1:17 am

      You might also find some drawers that have more than three to a stack. We are just starting D5 and CAFE this year and I tell you…the things we teachers focus on: "how on Earth do the kids carry all of that stuff?" is the quote Im hearing most in discussions. I cant wait to share this drawer idea with my teammates. Thanks so much for doing such great work!

      Jen in Denver

    • Kelly Patrice August 9, 2012 at 2:57 am

      Thanks! Michael's and I have a date tomorrow. We got some money from our PTO and those drawers are on my list 🙂

    • Kelly Patrice August 9, 2012 at 2:58 am

      Thanks! Michael's and I have a date tomorrow. We got some money from our PTO and those drawers are on my list 🙂

  • Chrissy August 7, 2012 at 3:30 am

    LOL! I was just reading your comment on Tara's site (UPS arrived, right?) and then I found your words on my post! Small world 🙂

    We are in party mode for tomorrow's episode of Dance Moms; we also can't wait for the next Drop Dead Diva! I'm still trying to figure out if Abby knew that she would also be on DDD and if she had any say in the casting of the dancer. My daughter is taking a break from the comp team this year–she will be super busy as a freshman on the high school dance squad–so, now we are a bit weepy when we watch Dance Moms.

    You have been busy this summer! I have enjoyed seeing your creativity. I'm trying to get excited about putting my room back together…unfortunately, it has to be dismantled every Friday. During the school year, I get into the swing of taking it down and putting it back up. But before orientation? I just feel befuddled and disheartened! I'll try to post pics soon. ReadWriteSing

  • The Science Penguin August 7, 2012 at 3:50 am

    Fabulous as always! I'm still thinking about how I want to do my book "bags".
    The Science Penguin

  • Kristi August 7, 2012 at 10:41 am

    I {puffy heart} these!!! You totally rock! Quick question…Do you cut all of these by hand or does your circle cutter make ovals too? I'm seriously thinking about getting that circle cutter! Thanks for sharing your wonderful ideas!

    Learning's a Hoot

    • Kristen August 7, 2012 at 9:33 pm

      Hi Kristi! I wish my circle cutter made ovals, but it doesn't. I cut them by hand. 🙂

  • 2nd Grade Teacher and Life Long Learner August 7, 2012 at 12:49 pm

    WOW! Your creativity amazes me! How do you store the book drawers (it looks like you stack them)? Do your students get their drawers when they need them for Readers's Workshop or do you pass them out? Again, thanks for sharing. Stop by my Blog anytime!

    • Kristen August 7, 2012 at 9:35 pm

      Thanks and I am going to visit you right now! My students will just get them out at Reader's Workshop 🙂

  • Robin August 7, 2012 at 1:45 pm

    Thank you so very much! I am one who is working on more efficient organization. I love all your ideas. They are so helpful!!! Thank you!

  • Kate August 7, 2012 at 2:38 pm

    Thanks for giving me a great reason to re-label some storage drawers! 😉

    EduKate and Inspire

  • Vanessa August 7, 2012 at 5:21 pm

    Your title says it all! I am so relieved to have another option to having someone sew chair bags for me. I just ordered the drawers and printed the labels. Sooo excited! Thanks for sharing all your fabulous ideas!

  • Katrina August 7, 2012 at 5:29 pm

    I love this idea. I will be using book baskets this year, but the drawers look amazing. Thanks for sharing.

    I am your newest follower.


  • Diane August 7, 2012 at 5:36 pm

    I have used numbers for years – since my first year of teaching based on my dad's advice (he was a teacher, too). I love it so much! These labels will be great with all of the things that I label. Thanks! I saw a classroom with those book drawers and have wanted to do that. I just lack the space to find where to put them. I hope it goes well for you. Maybe I can do them eventually.

    The Teacher's Jungle

  • Kimberley Hove August 7, 2012 at 6:07 pm

    Thank you, Thank you, Thank you!!! I have been using the number system for several years and I LOVE IT!!!! It makes things so much more organized and clean looking. I was using blank banana designer cards from "Learning Palace" but not anymore. I can't thank you enough for this amazing design and the size is perfect. I love the colors. I have been telling everyone about your blog. PS your prices are always fare. Love you dedicated follower. I will post some pictures when I go into my classroom next week to get ready. I stated a blog recently but am very new still. I know you will be proud.

  • Kimberley Hove August 7, 2012 at 6:12 pm

    I can't afford the drawers so I use magazine boxes. It works just as well. I have found new magazine boxes at Goodwill for $1.00 for 2 or 3. New ones at the stores are a little more.

  • designer handbag imitation August 7, 2012 at 9:03 pm

    Too bad I missed it

  • Dawn August 7, 2012 at 10:11 pm

    LOVE these! I was toying with doing drawers this year for books, but couldn't find any that perfectly worked with my space and ideas. These will do it! I already purchased magazine boxes from IKEA for this year, but I have a goal and a plan for organizing next year. It's never too early to start, right? We just finished our second day. 🙂

  • Anonymous August 7, 2012 at 10:42 pm

    These are awesome! Is there any way that you can make the numbers go up to 40? I usually have 33-34 students in my room each year. Thanks for all of your hard work and being so willing to share. It is appreciated.

    • Kristen August 10, 2012 at 4:30 pm

      Hi–I'll be updating the packet this weekend with the extra numbers!

  • Ms.Jasztal August 8, 2012 at 1:32 am

    I love them! I have some drawers that even have the tops on them when they slide out (they can be used as a little lap desk of sorts). However, I have two periods of reading, so I probably won't be able to do this. I am still planning everything out, so I shall see. 🙂

  • Diane August 8, 2012 at 1:48 am

    I wrote earlier, but I just looked at the whole set. There are only 30 and last year I had 32 students. It seems to be what is happening in my district. Could you make the set have about 34 – 36 numbers to be safe? Thanks so much for doing this!

    The Teacher's Jungle

  • Mrs. A. Black August 8, 2012 at 5:20 am

    Another one of your products that I just LOVE! I get so sick of writing/printing student's names for their cubbies and these labels are going to be PERFECT! Not only that, but they will look just darling with your other files that I've bought and downloaded. My room is seriously, so darling because of YOU! Thank you sooooooooo much!!!!


    • Kristen August 8, 2012 at 9:01 pm

      Thanks so much Alisa!!! 🙂

  • sharifa262 August 8, 2012 at 11:09 am

    Hi Kristen,

    I am new to your blog and love all of your ideas! I am wondering if you have created bookplates or labels for your classroom books? I am asking because each classroom at my school has books that belong to the school and books that belong to the teacher and I want to better distinguish/label which books are mine. Do you have anything that could help with this or any ideas?

    Thanks again for sharing your ideas!

    • Kristen August 8, 2012 at 9:00 pm

      Hi Sharifa, thank you for stopping by1 I label the books to match the basket label and that label has my name on it. I've used this system for years and it has worked well. I hope to share more photos of my library system in a couple of weeks when I get back into my class 🙂

    • sharifa262 August 9, 2012 at 12:58 am

      Thanks Kristen! Are you referring to the A to Z book labels that you made? I just came across those and they are fabulous! Quick question: How did you get the image on each label? Did you have to copy and past it on to each one individually?

  • Kristin Herrick August 8, 2012 at 3:28 pm


    Yay! We're name friends – kind of. I'm very jealous of your set up. I went back and forth all summer long about whether to use these scrapbook drawers to store my students extra materials (I'm still debating, but currently leaning towards no), but I didn't even think of using them to hold book. What a great idea! My school just bought book boxes for me though, so … I feel like I need to use those. Thanks for sharing!

    Teaching In A Nutshell

  • Sarah August 8, 2012 at 9:13 pm

    I am in love with this idea! I am going to do some daily 5 rounds this year but had no idea where I was going to have the kids keep their books. I am totally going to look at these! I hope they can hold up to kindergarteners!:)

    Cleary Kindergarten

  • Lindsay August 9, 2012 at 1:41 am

    Hi Kristen-

    I am having a linky party about reading and writing workshop must haves. I would LOVE if you would link up with me and share your expertise!

    My Life as a Third Grade Teacher

  • Jazmine August 10, 2012 at 8:46 pm

    Kristen — I love the labels, so bright and colorful! I've been using cardboard magazine files from IKEA. They come in packs of 5 for like $2. They aren't especially durable like the plastic shelves but they work for the time being. I did have question for you though. Are you hot gluing or using double sided tape to adhere your labels to your baskets? I was going to try using my low-temp hot glue gun but that seemed a little to permanent, like maybe I wouldn't be able to get them off later.

    Thanks for sharing,

    • Kristen August 10, 2012 at 9:21 pm

      Hi Jazmine. I do use hot glue (after I laminate them) but I use it on plastic storage. It does come off with a good tug if you need to remove the label, then the glue can be peeled off the plastic (if it's a smooth plastic surface). Thanks for reading, I appreciate it 🙂

  • Clutter-Free Classroom August 14, 2012 at 10:39 pm

    Words can not express my love for these…I love the idea and the labels. I actually use these for math games, yet it never crossed my mind to use them as "book bags." 🙂 Jodi

  • Leave a Reply


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