6 Ways to Get Free Books for Your StudentsThursday, March 8, 2018
As teachers, we know that in order to cultivate readers we need to give our students access to books, but how can we do this for each student in our class without breaking the bank? Well, I'm here to tell you that there are at least 6 ways to give kids FREE access to books!
1. THE LIBRARY
Whether it's your local public library or your school library, the library has an array of books that you can check out and share with your students in class. Some public libraries will allow you to check out more than the minimum number of books if they know you are a teacher, and some school districts let you check out books from other neighboring schools if your school doesn't carry the book. Yep! You read correctly. A few years back, I needed a book that was not available at my school library. I spoke to my school librarian, and she showed me how to go into the system and request a book from a neighboring school. All I had to do after that was drive on over to the school and pick it up. That was it!
Chances are, the title you are looking for is somewhere in your school building in someone's classroom library. It is definitely worth asking. Just recently, I had a student finish the second book in the Amulet series. She was ready to read book number 3, but I did not own it and it was checked out from our school library. Instead of having her go home for the weekend empty-handed, we found a teacher who had the book available in her classroom library. She graciously lent it to my student (who by the way, came back to school on Monday with most of the it already read).
YouTube is one of my favorite ways to access books (particularly picture books) to share with my students when we do not have it in our classroom library or school library. There are various read alouds that can be accessed on YouTube. I also like to use it to preview books before I actually purchase them. Just type in the title of the book you are looking for plus the words "read aloud." This will allow you to see if the book is available as a read aloud.
I can not promote this option enough. Every year, periodically, I asked students to bring in books they have at home that they have already read, and which they know they will not be reading again. It is AMAZING how many books you can add to your classroom library this way. The best thing about this method is that you can have students share a little about their books before they get placed in the classroom library. This will give students a preview of the book, and hopefully motivate them to read it once they experience the enthusiasm their peer has for the book. I also love to have them write a short dedication on the inside cover. It is a nice keepsake, as well as impact future readers of the book for years to come.
Donations, however, do not just have to come from students. They can come from social media communities. This summer I went onto a local marketplace on Facebook looking for books for my classroom. While I did pay for some books, it was incredible how many books people added to my original purchase, or plainly just donated when they found out I was a teacher.
You could also ask colleagues for books. Sometimes teachers change grades or retire, and no longer have a use for some of the books in their collection. More often than not, they will gladly donate them to you knowing that future generations of students will enjoy them. As a matter of fact, this was another way I personally added many books to my classroom library collection.
5. SCHOLASTIC BOOK CLUB
Do you remember receiving Scholastic Book Club flyers at school when you were younger? I do, and I remember how excited I would get to be able to order a book, or two, or three. As a teacher, if your students order from the Scholastic Book Club through your class referral code, you receive points. With those points you can receive books absolutely FREE. Therefore, don't throw those flyers away! Distribute them to your students and start collecting those points.
Epic is a digital library for kids 12 and under and is 100% FREE for verified educators. It has a great selection of books in various genres and includes high interest topics as well. As a teacher, you can assign books, and even quizzes, to students.
How do you provide FREE access to books to your students? I'd love to hear about it. Until then, happy reading. =)