On Wednesdays, we here at The Snarky Schoolteacher bring you #EdHack, a feature designed to bring you tips and tricks for your classroom to make your life just a little easier. This week, Nicole shares some of her experiences with building a classroom library on a budget.
Whether you’re just starting out in the profession or you realize your classroom library is in desperate need of a boost, I’m here to share my tips and tricks for building your classroom library on a budget. As a general rule, I never pay more than $1-$2 per book, though I will occasionally pay more if it’s a great deal (but typically, still not more than $5). Also, I highly recommend creating some sort of spreadsheet to track what you’ve bought so you don’t end up double-buying books! If you prefer, there are also tons of apps out there that can be used for this purpose; We Are Teachers has a rundown of some their readers recommend here.
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Scoring Book Deals on a Budget
Don't Forget about Other Types of Media
As you expand your library, don’t forget about other types of media, such as newspapers and magazines! Several years ago, I scored a great deal on a Zoobooks subscription through Groupon — only $10 for the year! Groupon also offers the occasional discount code, plus they qualify for Ebates, so it’s an inexpensive way to add something different to your library. Plus, my students loved having something new come in every month!
As you begin this school year, remember that building a classroom library takes time. Students love it when you bring in and introduce new books throughout the year, so don't feel like you have to have everything in place from the first day! Also, if your library isn't as large as you'd like it to be, most school libraries will allow you to check out dozens of books at a time, which you can then feature for your students. Finally, be discerning as you browse. Think about what you already have, what your students show interest in, what content you teach (especially for content areas like science and social studies), and what genres you want to build. Just because a book is a great deal doesn't necessarily mean it will be a good fit for your classroom. Also, if a cover looks dated, students will often pass over it. You shouldn't judge a book by its cover, but that doesn't mean students won't tend to pass on something that looks like it's out of the 80s!
I'd love to hear your tips and tricks for building your classroom library! Where do you score your best book deals? Do you know of any booksellers that offer teacher discounts? Let me know in the comments below!
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