Sunday, April 8, 2012

Guest Blogger: Jenny

Hi, I'm Jenny from Luckeyfrog's Lilypad, and I have a confession to make.

I love books.

It's bad enough that my husband and I don't even go in bookstores except on very rare occasions, because we know we'll spend too much money.

When we go to the library, I usually can't carry all of my books out without a bag (or an extreeemely precarious stack).

Every teacher wants to have plenty of books for their library, and I'm no exception, but it's harder for a new teacher like me. I don't know if you've noticed, but books are friggin' expensive.

Of course, most teachers know about Scholastic Book Clubs. When you sign up, be sure to ask around your school and get a "referral" from someone who already has an account. You'll both get extra Points! (Check out their New Teachers site for a coupon, too!)

Photo from

Make sure you also make it easy for parents to order, and especially to order online. Scholastic Book Clubs currently gives you a $3 coupon to put towards books for each parent order made online, in addition to the points you get for how much they spend!

Scholastic even has a letter form they offer for free that explains to parents about book clubs and how to order online, so make sure you look around for that. I also send the link and password in an e-mail (since most of my parents have access).

Last year, my school was pretty low-income, so I didn't have that luxury. But I still found ways to make it worth my time, and the kids got so excited about the books that a few of them would even use their own dollar or two to buy books.

Definitely make sure that you show the kids the book order! For me, that usually meant spending 5-10 minutes at the end of the day showing kids some of the more 'exciting' books under the document camera. Draw special attention to any books you've read aloud, popular series, popular TV and movie characters, and dollar books. (There's almost always at least one!) Then, I just let them go and told them to circle books they were interested in.

Since then, though, I've found some other resources that have helped immensely. Cindy from Mrs. Gilchrist's Class came up with a way to let students review genre in a Scholastic Book Clubs center. Click on the picture to go get your copy from Cindy!

Jen over at The Teacher's Cauldron used Scholastic Book Order forms to let students determine the author's purpose. Click the picture to see ideas at her blog!

Such a creative use of book orders! Of course, I would do this with ones I wasn't planning on sending home. (I always feel greedy sending one home in the same month as the book fair at school!)

Make sure you also watch for their 50 books for $50 deals, series multi-packs, the coupons that you can use for $10 in free books each month, and don't forget to use your points! You should also consider handing out two catalogs. For my class, most of the 2-3 order's books are a bit too hard, and the K-1 order includes a lot of their favorite books, so I try to send home both. Plus, that means that if parents spend $20 worth (collectively) for each order, I will get $10 worth of books from each order for free (each month!).

If you do these things, you can end up with some amazing deals.

Without even spending a dollar of your own money, you might end up with a stack like this of popular books:

Which quickly starts to look like this:

With kids asking can they please please check them out to put in their book boxes, can they please just borrow that book to take home, and can I please stop taking pictures and put these books in our library?

It is so important for a classroom library to be welcoming and comfortable, and I have worked really hard to make my library a fun place to be.

But more important than all the "cute" is that you actually have books for the kids to read, and Scholastic Book Orders are a great way for a new teacher- or any teacher- to build a classroom library without breaking the bank!

Warms a teacher's heart to see students' book boxes full!

Looking for more ways to get cheap books for your classroom library? Come over to Luckeyfrog's Lilypad and learn the tips and tricks of a library book sale!

Thanks, Natalie, for having me as a guest blogger on Teachery Tidbits! Hope you are having an AMAZING time in Japan!

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