Sunday, March 9, 2014

Bright Idea Hop: Expanding Your Class Library {On a Teacher Budget}

I'm linking up with a TON of AMAZING bloggers today to share with you some of our Brightest Ideas. Our hopes are that these ideas will help to make your life as a teacher a little easier…

Today, I'll be sharing easy and cheap ways that you can expand your classroom library. If you're a beginning teacher starting off with a small library or even a veteran teacher with a pretty good-sized library, I feel that you can never own too many books! 

Using the tips I'm about to share with you today…my class library currently has over 1,000 books (all collected within a 3 year period).

Garage Sales have been the BEST place for me to find gently used, up to date, and CHEAP books. Craigslist makes it easy because I didn't have to drive around and around trying to find garage/rummage sales that had children books. All I needed to do was look under the garage sale category then type in key words I was searching for such as 'Children Books' or 'Chapter Books'. 

I found that by heading to neighborhoods that were in the 'upper class' areas I got books that were in perfect condition, pretty brand new and really cheap! I've purchased books for as cheap as 5 cents a book. The most I've paid at garage sales have been 50 cents a book. 

Also, going to rummage sales that are raising money for children sport teams, or churches have also been good. There are usually a ton of books going for really cheap! 

I scored the entire Magic Tree House Series at a Baseball Rummage Sale….
and Diary of a Wimpy Kid Books (hard cover) for 50 cents each!! 

Hand out Scholastic Book orders and allow students time to look through and circle the book that they would be interested in reading. This is beneficial for three reasons:
  1. You get a better idea of the type of books your students are interested in. I like to order books that my students suggest so I know that they will be reading them. It also makes them extra excited about reading! I use my points to purchase these books. 
  2. Since the kids are taking the time to look through and circle the books, they are more likely to go home and ask their parents if they can order some of them. I definitely get way more orders when I allow the kids to preview them before taking them home. 
  3. The more orders you get, the more points you rack up. I rarely ever spend my own money on books from Scholastic and only use points. 

Encourage your students and parents to order their Scholastic Books online! This is a win-win for everyone because the student is able to get a free book coupon and the class does as well. You'd be surprised at how quickly you can rack up free book coupons! 

Create donation plaques for your class library and encourage students to donate the books that they no longer read! Students love the idea that YOUR future students for years to come will get to enjoy the books they donated. They also like the recognition!

 Students love to bring in their old books that they are done reading to donate to our class library. These cute and fun plaques have definitely bumped up the number of donations I've received. The kids love being able to write their names on the plaques…even more, they love the idea that it will be in my class library for as long as I am teaching and that all their friends, cousins, siblings, etc will know that THEY donated the book :) 

And my last tip for the day is to check your local library. I've found some really new books (that were in the Scholastic Book Orders) at the library for only 25cents! 

Thank you SO MUCH for stopping by to visit my blog today! I had so much fun putting this post together and can't wait to share my next bright idea with you! Make sure you don't miss it by following me via Blog Lovin', Facebook, or Instagram

If you're interested in the library labels that I used to organize my classroom library to make books easy for students to book shop, you can find them here!

Next up on this hop is Randi from Teach it With Class. Head on over to her blog where you can learn about Teaching Key Words for Math Problems!  

Teach It With Class


  1. Lots of great ideas to build up your library! I wanted to add that our library has a non-profit day about 4 times a year where teachers can get all the books they want for FREE! Ours is always on a Monday, but the last couple of years it has fallen on President's day, so I've been able to go.

  2. I completely agree, you can never have too many books!

  3. Yard sales are the best! Especially when you tell them your a teacher :)

    Corinna (✿◠‿◠)
    Surfin' Through Second

  4. Love the idea of the donation plaques! I always hit up the library book sales - can't beat 25 cents for a hardcover book!

    Sara :)
    The Colorful Apple

  5. I thought the donation plaque idea was terrific too! I am going to start using that idea in my classroom. Thanks for sharing! =O)
    One Happy Teacher

  6. These are wonderful ideas! I love how you make donation plaques! Are they from Vistaprint?

  7. I've always gone to garage sales for books, but I've never thought of having students donate and be able to put a plaque in the book. I am going to do that! Thanks for sharing such a great idea :)

  8. I love those books and visit the site for getting new books at home.

  9. Great ideas! Thanks for sharing...I never thought to check Craigslist.

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