If you haven’t already read my post on *why* I chose to give out books to trick-or-treaters this year, click here to read it. I’ll wait 🙂
Ok, welcome back.
So you’ve decided to join in on the book giving, or you’re just curious about how we managed it. Here’s all the info you need (its really simple):
1. Estimate how many kids you usually get, and their approximate ages.
This isn’t always possible (we weren’t able to this year) but it sure is helpful, if you can manage it.
2. Collect Books! (It’s not as expensive as you think)
We gave out gently used books that we collected in the months leading up to Halloween. Some were given to us from friends and neighbours, the rest we got from yard sales, thrift stores, trades on Bunz and purchases through community buy-and-sell Facebook groups. We managed to get a set of brand new Ramona books for $5 from someone selling them through a group. Many of the books we got were cheaper than that.
3. Grab some boxes. I used 5 that we had left over from moving last year.
Label the boxes as follows (or how ever you want – this is just what we did).
- Board Books
- Pre-K to K
- Grade 1-2
- Grade 3-4
- Grade 5-6
Next year we will probably add a Grade 7+ box, as we did get some older kids.
4. Sort your books.
This was probably the trickiest part for me. This will probably be easier for you if you have kids, or spend more time with kids than I do. I did have a bit of a leg up because I worked as children’s bookseller for a couple of years, although that was a while ago. Here’s a rough idea of how to sort them. Remember, the kids are going to pick their own books, so it’s ok if it’s not perfect.
Board books: This one’s pretty self-explanatory. They’re the books with thick board pages, designed for babies and young tots to withstand drool and other goo as well as being played with and thrown.
Pre-K to K: These are simple storybooks with larger text and lots of pictures.
Grades 1-2: More complex storybooks, smaller words, more pages, as well as beginner readers. Beginner readers are the thin ones that look a little more like chapter books. These usually have a reading level right on them.
Grades 3-4: Simple chapter books. Books for these ages usually have slightly larger text than a regular chapter book, with the lines spread a bit further apart. Often still have some illustrations, but not as many.
Grades 5-6: Regular kids chapter books.
Another tip is to look to see if the reading level is written on the book. Sometimes it will be on the front or back page, and sometimes on the inside page with all the publishing and copyright information. It might say something like “ages 4-8” or “RL 2” (Reading Level 2 = grade 2), or it might say nothing at all.
Once you get going it gets easier because you can compare a title to the ones you’ve already sorted and go from there.
5. Give out the books!
On Halloween, set up the labeled boxes on your porch and let the kids choose whichever book they’d like. Explain what your up to and direct them to the box for their age. Kids reading levels vary a lot; so make sure to let them pick a book that works for them, regardless of the grade marked on the box.
Don’t worry if you get a big group of kids at once, they’re usually pretty good at taking turns until everyone has a book.
Have any questions? Comment below, I’d love to hear them.