Having a Well Stocked Classroom Library
New books are expensive. Students benefit from a wide range of reading material to choose from. What should a teacher do? Find free books!
In my ESOL room I had a fairly large classroom library. It didn’t always fit into the daily lessons, since I would typically only see students for 30 minutes and they have independent reading time in their classroom. It was great for students that finished an activity early and I allowed student to borrow books. Classroom teachers would tell me how excited students were to bring back a book with them. Especially in upper grades some teachers didn’t always have high interest low level books so I tried to stock a large supply of those kinds of books (graphic novels were in constant demand.)
How to Find Free Books
- Donors Choose: My favorite place to get new books was through Donors Choose. I received a number of graphic novels and other new high interest, easy to read books. Keep an eye out for partner matches, they are a great way to fund projects at 50% off. Here is an example of a funded book project. If you have never used the sight give it a try!
- Thrift Store: Books are typically very reasonably priced at thrift stores. Whenever I go into one I peek in the book section. Sometimes there is nothing but other times you hit the jackpot!
- Yard Sales: Same as thrift stores, sometimes you can get lucky.
- Other Teachers: Keep your eyes and ears open, especially near the end of the school year. Teachers moving
- Scholastic Book Points: When students place orders through scholastic you can earn points that can be used to get free books. As a non classroom teacher I have never been able to take advantage of this program but have good things from classroom teachers that do so.
A well organized classroom library is at the heart of most literacy programs. Sorting books into categories help children find a book that they are looking for and also helps them to discover one that they did not think they wanted to read.
I used book labels on each of the book baskets in my classroom library. This helped my non readers find books that they were interested in. This is especially important for ELLs, where visual support is key.
Read about additional tips for organizing an ESOL classroom library.