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Creating a Classroom Library on a Budget!

This morning I realized that it had been a week since I last sat at my computer!  I am starting to get in back-to-school mode and have been plugging away at my new room. I know that many of my teacher friends are already back in school, but up here the kids don't return until September 4th.  (Don't worry!  The jealousy will be coming from us in the last week of June while we're still teaching!)

When I returned from vacation, the reality of changing grades and rooms really started to settle in.  I went out to dinner with a close friend, who also teaches third grade in my district.  She is one of those people who has a real knack for inspiring people and getting them excited for even the most mundane tasks (you know the kind of person I'm talking about!)

After an invigorating discussion about the form and function of skeletons {isn't that #1 at everyone's dinner conversation?} we got to talking about great third grade reads.  WHAT?!?  I didn't have a single one on her list!  I asked about staple book series, and again… WHAT?!?

My mind started spinning.  What am I going to do?  I don't have the money for this!  Oh my goodness… I have less than two weeks to get this right!

Well, I got right to work!  In case you find yourself in a similar predicament, here are my Top 5 Tips for Creating a Classroom Library on a Budget:

1.  Dig through those drawers and old wallets for all available gift cards.  If you're anything like me, you'll find at least one {I may or may not have found one in my Christmas stocking that was still not packed away from last December!}  Here are all the books I got from putting in thirty minutes of digging!


2.  Search for book lots on eBay!  Many vendors sell book lots.  You can find entire children's libraries on sale for a great value thanks to the abundance of parents trying to clear out the rooms of their growing children.  I snagged the entire Geronimo Stilton series AND The Babysitter's Club!!! {I secretly bought them for myself!  If you don't see a blog post from me for a few days, you know where I am!}


3.  Check your local libraries!!!  They often have seasonal sales to make room on the shelves for new books and updated editions.  Grab those used books at a great price and help out your libraries at the same time.

4.  Put a blast email out to friends, family and colleagues asking for used books.  YOU NEVER KNOW who will answer you!  I scored this year!!!  Our district's reading interventions are moving to a more scripted program, so many of our personal purchases will have less of a place in these settings.  Given this, my incredibly generous reading specialist brought me down to her room, opened the door to her closet, and said, "Here!"  She filled SIX moving boxes with third grade favorites for a bargain price.  I am forever in her debt!

5.  Scholastic, Scholastic, Scholastic! Although it won't get you books for the first day of school, Scholastic Book Club is an amazing way for teachers to build classroom libraries!  When I first started teaching, the online book ordering was available, but it hadn't really caught on yet.  Now, it's a whole new world!  Simply send home the flyer, allow parents to purchase the books online with their credit card, and you receive points that you can use to purchase books for your classroom.  The books are also offered at incredibly reasonable rates, so a few extra dollars can go a long way!


Tomorrow's job is to organize all of my new books.  How do you organize your classroom library?


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