So to make a long story
short shorter than it could be, I began to stock up on books. Scholastic, with their amazing dollar deals, which used to be a whole lot better, was the quickest way for me to build a collection. At first, I bought about 10 copies of each book so I would have a good selection for guided reading at various levels. I suppose I should mention here that I haven't worked in many schools that rely on a basal. In fact, I was lucky to begin my teaching career in a school where we didn't touch the basal, but instead taught everything with mentor texts and chapter books. It was hard work because I had to create a lot of units on my own, but it made me a better teacher and I honestly loved every second. About five years ago, we divided our students by level, and I had the "high readers". I had 28 students, each brilliant and wonderful and full of love for learning. That year, I did a ton of literature circles, a lot of whole group discussions, and I bought tons of chapter books for discussions that made my head spin. To say that I was impressed would be an understatement. I was able to explore with them, try new ideas and approaches, and they soaked it all up. It was so awesome!
Needless to say, I've built up quite the collection over the years. Note that this does not include anything from my classroom library because this room simply wouldn't hold both. These are only the books I have multiple copies of:
So it's an investment, right? I store most of these in Rubbermaid containers at my house and grab what I need when I need it since I've yet to find a classroom that can accommodate this collection. But, when I use them in class, I really want students to keep them in good shape. If all of these were a $1, which you all know they weren't, it would be a decent chunk of change out of my own pocket. I wanted students to hold these, love these, throw sticky notes on them, and dive in to a passion for reading, but I didn't want my books ruined, so I devised a little plan:
Do these pencil pouches look familiar? Office Depot, baby!
Look at that, a chapter book just happens to fit in there perfectly!
Oh, and that little pencil pouch? Just perfect for sticky notes or your current graphic organizer folded in to fourths!
This little idea has put me at ease when students borrow books. I no longer worry about what will happen to them if they keep them in their desk, as they are well protected!
This year I bought more pouches in a variety of colors because I wanted to use them for my guided reading groups. I want each group to have a different color pouch. I'm still working on building my collection, as I've already cleared out Office Depot during their $1 sale!
Just a little idea I thought I'd pass your way!