Monday, July 16, 2012

Classroom Library Week! {Part 1} About My Classroom Library

So, my last post was about how to score good deals on books... check out my Fabulous Resources page to get some more tips on where to buy great used books.

I am a firm believer in the fact that students who have more access to a wide variety of books within the classroom will enjoy reading more and will therefore become better readers.  If you have little or no classroom library, your students are responsible to check out any books they want to read.  Usually school libraries only allow students to check out a couple of books at a time.  This limits them in their search for a good book.

Also, when I taught in middle school, our middle school library had very few picture books.  Although I encouraged my 4th graders to read more chapter books, reading is reading.  Heck, sometimes I like reading a good picture book!  It's a nice break from reading longer novels and I love the illustrations and poetry of good picture books. (It also helps students to feel more accomplished... they've read "books" instead of just one book.)

So you may be sitting there thinking, well, I don't have the money to purchase a good classroom library.  I'm a new teacher or just starting out building my classroom library and I don't have any money yet... I don't even get paid until September!

I hear ya!!

I remember being a first year teacher and not having any money and wanting a good classroom library.   First, let me say that building a good classroom library takes TIME.  My awesome classroom library (which has over 700 books in it) wasn't purchased in a day or even a year.  It was a few years before I felt like I had a good classroom library with a variety of books for my students to choose from.  I scoured thrift stores, yard sales and book orders for the best deals.

Ways to get FREE books to start your classroom library:

Public Libraries
Do you have a public library within a reasonable driving distance?  Our local library will let you check out 100 books at a time!!!! 100!!  I had no idea!  What an awesome thing for a first year teacher!  If your library lets you check out many books at once, go ahead and take advantage of it!    Just make sure to check out books on different subjects, fiction and non-fiction and at a variety of reading levels.  

Donations from Parents
At the beginning of the year, send a letter home with your students, asking for any books that they  may not need or have outgrown to be donated to your classroom library.  Totally free and easy to do!

Do you attend a church?  Is there a bulletin board or a church bulletin or newsletter that gets sent out each week?  Most people in your church family would be willing to donate books to help out a new teacher that they don't need anymore.

Your School
Sometimes schools get books donated to them and they place them in an area where all teachers can access them.  Check with your principal to see if your school has books that you can add to your classroom library.

Do you have any other ideas for getting FREE books for your classroom?  Please share! :)

P.S.  Don't stress out if you are trying to build your classroom library and you don't have a huge selection at first.  Like I said, it takes time! You will get there :)