Time for Kindergarden is having a linky party asking for suggestions on how to organise take-home readers.
At our school, they provide specific readers for home reading, which a parent comes in and changes for me once per week. Students return their readers AND homework on a Friday only, we mark, I check and it goes home again so that students have the weekend and the week to get it done. I find this MUCH easier to manage than than checking homework and changing readers twice per week or more often. Each student gets to take home two readers - unfortunately the school doesn't provide 'real' books for taking home- students can borrow them during library time.
The neat part of the swystem is that the parent uses a scanner to log books out to each student so that we know exactly who has overdue books. Books are also 1-2 level below their instructional reading level for guided reading so that they can practise their fluency and comprehension at home, rather than struggle too much with it. Parents have really been great with this idea because they no longer have to struggle with children who complain that the book is too hard if they get stuck on a word and that they don't want to read - being able to show off to mum and dad that they can read the book has really built up their confidence.
Students keep their home readers in a school library bag (they have one for library and one for home readers) which has a handle and are waterproof.
When I taught Year 6 however, I did allow students to take home my books. Those that were interested just booked them out on the Home Reading Log. I had wonderful classes those two years and not 1 book was lost. I also had to have a Waiting List for books - after I contacted books and did book introductions, there was always a HUGE interest in them and for those unlucky enough to not be given the book first, they would add their name to the Waiting List. When a student finished with the book, they would check the Waiting List and pass it on to the next person!