Before we begin the literacy project we’ll need to get some bags made (or purchased) to hold the books, crafts and other “stuff”. You can recycle old jeans or other garments made from durable fabric such as corduroy, heavier flannel and cotton or use fabric from your stash. We want to keep costs down as much as possible for this and all our projects as we all have the additional expense of shipping. These bags are for kids so use bright colors and prints or jazz up dark fabrics with appliques and trims. If you’re designing a literacy bag with a dog theme use a printed “dog” fabric, sew on an applique or paint a picture of a dog if you’re artistically inclined. For Skill bags decorate your bag with numbers, letters, colors or whatever theme your bag is, this is a chance to be creative and use your imagination. The bags can be tote bag (add snap, velcro or other closure) or drawstring style here, here, here, and here and should be a minimum of 12 inches W by 15 inches L so they’re large enough to hold larger size books and paper pads,crayon books etc. If you’re including a puzzle or other item in the literacy or skill bag that has small parts, make a smaller drawstring bag to keep all the pieces together.
The craft bags (need 40) will go home with the children and are theirs to keep so they can learn to color, use scissors and work on projects at home. They will contain safety scissors, 24-ct crayons, 3 pencils, pencil sharpener, eraser, ruler, glue stick, package of plain drawing paper, construction paper and a coloring book. Taking advantage of annual “Back to School” sales will make this a relatively inexpensive project although they won’t be rolling around again until late summer. Since the main target date will be August 2013 for most of the bags, feel free to wait for the sales but do let us know if you can make one.
The Literacy and Skills bags will remain the property of Head Start and will be loaned out to children for a few days to take home and work on projects with their parents or other family members. Some early literacy programs, send them home on Friday and they’re returned by Wednesday of the next week so staff can prepare them for the next student. We would like to have a total of 20 Skills and 20 Literacy bags to start the program. If we get more and hopefully we will, as we need 40, then all the better as kids can practice the same skills but with a different project. Repetition is one of the ways kids learn new skills. We’ll need to include an instruction sheet on how to use the bag, activities to do with parents and a place to write comments. We will provide a standard form you can use and change to fit your project but the rules about how the bags are to be used will be the same in each bag. If you’re a teacher and have experience using literacy bags, please contact us and tell us your experiences and helpful suggestions so we can pass them along to the HS teachers as this is a new program and they will need help getting it started and making it a success.
Check out this link for creating a literacy bag step by step, Google “literacy bag” for more ideas and watch for future blogs where we’ll have pics of finished projects and more ideas, of course.Check out our Pinterest site for some ideas to get you started. www.pinterest.com/sewlakotakids
If you need tote bag sewing instructions look here, here, and here or google “how to sew a tote bag” or check out YouTube for lots of how to videos. We’ll have shipping instructions in the next blog as we’re still deciding if we need the literacy and skills bags sent to me so I can put together the total program and ship in one box with instructions for implementation.
So let us know if this is a project you can help with, and start collecting books, craft items small stuffed animals, learning tools, etc. to use in designing your bag. I am excited about the enthusiasm that I have seen so far with the project and really want you to share your project and ideas with the group. It will inspire us all. Our hope is that this project will help Head Start teachers prepare those little ones for kindergarten and beyond!