Last week I was talking with some local teachers about Daily 5 and one of the teachers asked how to increase the amount of books in her classroom library without spending a fortune. I mentioned the idea of sending home a letter asking parents to remember our classrooms when they clean out their children's book shelves.
One teacher mentioned garage sales or library sales, and another teacher talked about using her points from a book order company. All of these ideas are fantastic and definitely work! Then, another teacher mentioned an idea that her school uses to bring in more books and I quickly latched on to the idea, prepared to use it next year in my classroom.
With 20-30 students in a classroom, we usually celebrate 20-30 birthdays each school year. A birthday celebration generally means store bought birthday treats that can sometimes get very messy! Teachers at Danville Elementary use birthdays as an opportunity to introduce a new/ favorite book and add a book to their classroom library.
At the beginning of the year, a note is sent home requesting each child bring in a copy of his/her favorite book on their birthday instead of a birthday treat. Depending on the age of the child and the classroom teacher's personal preference, the child can ask a special guest reader to come read the book to the class (a parent, gradparent, etc.), the child may read it to the class, or the teacher may read it.
Then, the child's name, picture, and date are placed inside the book and the book is then donated to the classroom library. Years down the road, it is fun to look back inside book covers to see former students' pictures and know where the book came from. This idea won't fill the classroom library, but it is a great way to involve families and increase book volume by 20-30 books a year. What a great idea!