Monday, June 4, 2018

All the Books!

My classroom library is home to over 1,000 books.  Yes, you read that correctly - over 1,000 (EASILY).  Every year I probably add about 100 new books to the lot: chapter books, picture books, informational text, etc.  I am constantly promoting new books and buying books that I think my current readers would be interested in.  This is not always an easy feat on a teacher's salary, but it can be done!  Here are the top five methods I have used to add more books to my classroom library:

Scholastic Book Order

Scholastic Book Clubs is my all time favorite way to get books!  Just by sending home flyers each month and promoting a love of reading in your classroom, you can earn points and free books to help build up your classroom library!  I work at a Title 1 school so I run the average book order every other month.  Some months are better than others but in general I get about 4-6 student orders each go around.  Just form that alone I am able to accumulate enough points that I can purchase AT LEAST 40 new books each year with points alone... that means I didn't pay a single penny for those books.

Scholastic has started putting a $1 book in each flyer EVERY month!  This is perfect for a couple reasons.  

1. You can get books for cheap for your classroom library.  There are also $2 and $3 books as well - still a great deal! If you are like me and work at a Title 1 school, your families don't always have a ton of extra money to spend on books, so them being able to get classics and favorites for just $1 is an AWESOME deal!  

2. I use these $1 books to build my novel study or literature circle libraries.  I will buy anywhere from 5-25 copies (whole class set) of a book to use in my class.  

3. I will also purchase the $1 books for our "Christmas Book Pass" game (for the students who can't bring one in), and for an end of the year gift.  I keep an eye out all year for a perfect summer book for my kiddos.  I want it to be something that is a good piece of literature but also a series, this way if they love the book they can keep the momentum going with the rest of the series throughout the summer!

Also, if you are a first year teacher, Scholastic Book Clubs offer even more extras to help you build your library!  Don't forget to look at other flyers besides the ones for your grade levels as well.  I am a big believer in using picture books to teach my standards as well as reading a classroom-book-a-day picture book.  Purchasing picture books through Scholastic Book Orders are a very inexpensive way to build up this portion of my library as well!

Donors Choose
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I LOVE using Donors Choose and I try to do at least one a year for books for my classroom.  I usually have something specific in mind and ask for diverse books, non-fiction, classroom-book-a-day, etc.  But that's the joy of Donors Choose, you can ask for whatever your classroom needs!  I usually try to ask for my more expensive books through DC because sometimes they will offer half-price matching.  The only draw back to DC (in my humble opinion) is that you never know when it will be funded so you never know when you will receive the books.  Better late than never, but if you need them by a specific date this might not be the way to go.  Also, ALWAYS check with your school or district about what their parameters are for Donors Choose and if those books get to stay with you as your teaching career advances, or do they belong to the school...

If you would like to get started with your own Donors Choose account and project, I recommend this page to get you started: 5 Steps for a Successful Start on Donors Choose.


Every Goodwill might be different but ours sells paperback books for $0.29 and hardback books for $0.59.  Y'all, you cannot beat those prices!  It can be hit or miss like anything, but it's always worth a shot!  I also like to go to the Goodwill in my school's neighborhood because they always have a better children's book selection than my neighborhood one. Probably because of all the kiddos! LOL  Another good tip is to at peak times, like before and after Christmas and around Spring, for bigger selections.

Scholastic Warehouse Sale

Scholastic Warehouse Sales are events in major cities that usually occur 2-4 times a year.  If you sign up for their email list you will get notifications weeks in advance as well as coupons for $10 off and more!  You can even sign up to volunteer for the event and my understanding is the volunteers get even more discounts/perks!  Every warehouse sale is different in what they offer (book-wise and sale-wise).  There are usually two sales a year that offer 50-80% off of their books.  Be sure to check the email to see what sale prices are being offered.  Some of the events also offer Build a Box.  This is where you take a box inside a specific section of the warehouse and fill it with as many books as you can for a set price!  There was a time where this was my main source for classroom library books.

Student Donations

Another way to get more books into your classroom is to ask your families!  You will be surprised how many students want to donate something to their classroom library.  Let them promote and talk up their books to the class before you put them out for circulation!  This will make the students feel more special, allow them to share their love of these particular reads with their friends, and inspire another student to do the same.  Trust me, I know!  My principal even gave me the idea that if you have a classroom economy or ticket system, that any student that brings in books (as long as their parents give permission) get "X' amount of money or tickets toward their class account. 

Everything is worth a shot once!  In this case, I recommend giving all of these options a shot more than once!  There are a lot more ways to get books into the hands of your students but these are the top 5 ways that add to my classroom library the most.  Later I will tell you about some other, less common, methods (especially if you work at a Title 1 school like me)!  Do you have any other tried and true methods to get books?  Let's hear about them in the comments below!

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