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My favorite investment I made in my classroom

Hands down the best investment I ever made to my classroom was books!  I bet many of us would agree that the library is a cornerstone of the classroom.  Here is one of my first ones….boy did it grow! 

The importance placed on books and reading is so high in our classrooms! I would spend way too much money (if there is an amount!) on books every couple months. Series that needed updating…..additional copies needed……..finding great authors and more……

Almost a librarian of sorts. I did not have a checkout system for books as it would be impossible to keep up with. I did have librarian “jobs” that reshelved all books and helped with new ones coming in~

Books were a prize for our themed days, we unveiled the library at the beginning of the year, it was the place for research and scavenger hunt clues all year long.

Students knew how important books were to me and getting them in their hands was a commitment that I made from the beginning! You want to read it….I will find a way to get it for you.

Here’s some of the options you have to make that happen without breaking the bank:

  • Garage Sales/ Book Sales – do not underestimate these. Many FB buy/sell/trade groups have loads of books (often in sets) that would be great additions to any classroom. Some teachers have sale items and will get an immense amount of material for little cost.
  • Share you Amazon List – with parents, family, and all. I felt a little weird about this at first and then I took a hard look at myself…..why?…..why did I feel weird sharing what students needed? It wasn’t for me. It was for my kids and when I took me out of it realizing who would benefit from the purchases I felt more at ease. Yes uncomfortable but I always tell myself “do the good.” Doesn’t matter if it’s uncomfortable if you are doing it for the right reasons you can feel ok with yourself!
  • Thriftbooks.com = I love this resource to get books! Super cheap and even with shipping has new titles (unlike most sites)
  • Scholastic Orders – promote those orders and build points to purchase books for your library. Share with parents how this can help build our classroom library together!
  • Befriend your librarian – get to know when he or she puts in orders. Let them know what authors are popular or what students are reading. They often have a budget to get new materials so make sure what they purchase for your grade level is material they WANT!
  • Partner with other teachers – do you have a teacher close who you can partner with? instead of you each having two copies of the latest series…maybe she has it and you have another series that is popular and students know what books the other has? My next door teacher had an EXTENSIVE library that rivaled our school library and always welcomed students to get books and was a great “compliment” to my library if needed. Cooperating and sharing costs can work for both of you!
  • Use Student Surveys or information – do you know what they like? By conferencing, logs, or preferences you might? but really gauging what your library needs can be tough. Have students document their likes and reading habits to really hone in on what will be most valuable for your class this year and keep building.
  • Ask for donations – some students have siblings or themselves that have books to donate.

The toughest part of building your library is the time it takes! No matter what it is costly and definitely an investment. The best part is how it grows with each class and you can add (never really take away!) and the books keep getting use with new students.

Wishlist Whittling – Trimming book choices to focus on importance

If you have a class wishlist or idea place for books, try to whittle the wishlist a couple times of year. Go over the choices together and gauge interest if the book is still something they would love to read. Even in my own reading habits some I thought I wanted to read, become less appealing over time.

This would be great to do before holiday season, to really focus on what would be great holiday gifts for students or the classroom!

Classroom Library Promotion

Although the library doesn’t really need a whole lot of promotion. I love to focus on how important it is to our class. It is ours to keep neat and organized (so we can find books!).

I love using Library Events 2.0 to help show interest in special times we can dedicate to books. I use a couple of these on our calendar spots to promote special times with books!

First Chapter Friday, I first learned about from Mrs. Golz and is SO EASY to implement in ANY classroom!!

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