By Jon Konen
Most schools have a limited budget for resources. More than 70 percent of most schools’ general budgets is designated for salaries and benefits, but what schools do with the other 30 percent is vital to student achievement. Daily 5 classrooms require a large number of books, to provide kids with ample choice. In fact, The Sisters recommend that each classroom have more than 1,000 books.
Administrators have to decide how successfully they want to implement Daily 5 in their schools. If they are “all in,” they need to find money to differentiate support. Many tenured and seasoned teachers have amassed small libraries in their classrooms, but new teachers may have only a few books. Here is a list of five ways to allocate more money to ensure that all teachers have the tools needed to successfully implement Daily 5:
Say no to textbooks—School districts should budget annually for new curricula. When an English language arts program is up for renewal, instead of spending money on textbook adoption, that money could be put into books for classrooms.
Create a literacy fund—Annually earmark one or two hundred dollars for every teacher to buy new books for their classrooms. It’s worth it!
PTA new teacher fund—Have your PTA create a New Teacher Fund. What a great welcoming gift for a new teacher in your school. Help create a line item in your PTA’s budget for these new teachers. Start with two hundred dollars and the new teacher will be ecstatic!
Differentiate funds—Inventory the books in each of your classrooms. How many books does each teacher have in his or her room? Some teachers have put a lot of their own money into their classroom collections. We have to get books into kids’ hands—period! We must then differentiate our funds and give more money to teachers who have fewer books.
- Donors Choose and more—Donorschoose.org is a fabulous website that connects private donors to school classroom projects, and there are many other wonderful grants and private funding sources that can be tapped to get more books into your classroom. Title I schools can purchase books cheaply from several sources. One website will give you a free book for every book you purchase. Also, Scholastic points from book orders can be collected and used to purchase more books.