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August 3, 2018

How to Build Your Classroom Library (and Develop Readers) With Points

By Juan Gonzalez
Grades PreK–K, 1–2, 3–5, 6–8

    My name is Juan Gonzalez Jr. and I’m in love with Scholastic Book Clubs. The feeling of receiving book catalogs and making a wish list is pure magic. This is why sharing Scholastic Book Clubs with my students is always a special moment. It’s more than asking the readers to go shopping. This is an experience that helps our growing readers develop their reading identity because they are choosing books they wish to read. It’s a big deal! I also love Book Clubs because it’s my number one source that has helped me get books into my classroom and in the hands of my students.

    Over the years, I have learned some tips and tricks that have helped increase access to books for my students with the use of Book Clubs. If you are new to the process or need some ideas on how to improve Scholastic Book Clubs in your classroom, keep reading!

    Order Different Catalogs

    Expose your readers to a variety of book selections. Rather than sticking to your grade level, consider sending home multiple types of catalogs. Scholastic Book Clubs has different catalogs that range from grade level, age groups, and specialty topics. When the students have more choices, they are more likely to find books that pique their interest. You can add catalog choices to your account online or by calling Scholastic.

    Browse the Catalogs Together

    Don’t just send home the catalogs. Pass them out and browse through them together. The catalogs are wonderful for talking about books with your students. Even if students don’t have the opportunity to purchase books, browsing helps with finding books to add to their reading wish list. Plus, it gives me information on what my readers are interested in. I use this information to purchase new titles for our classroom library.

    Send Home Letters With the Catalogs

    Attaching letters to the catalogs has increased parent engagement tremendously. The letters I make include the following information:

    • Due date
    • Online classroom order code (found in your online profile)
    • Website URL for online orders
    • Payment instructions
    • Book recommendations

    I staple my letters to the front of my catalogs before sending them home with my students. Providing these details for families allows them to be connected to the process and it continues the conversation about books with their children.

    Click on the image to download a copy of a generic letter that you may edit and use with your families.

    What About the Students Who Can’t Buy Books?

    I know that not every student is going to have the chance to purchase books. The best part of the Book Club program is that teachers get points based on the dollar amount spent. The bigger the order, the more bonus points are added to your account. When students express a desire for a certain book but cannot purchase it themselves, I make a note to myself and use my bonus points to get the books into our classroom library. This allows for those readers who can’t purchase books to still get access to texts that interest them.

    ADDITIONAL TIPS

    Save Your Bonus Points

    I used to be the teacher who would spend ALL my bonus points in one order. How is one supposed to control themselves with free books? I have now learned to spend my points strategically and save them throughout the year. Having a bank of points allows me to pick up titles throughout the year as students' interests change.

    Go Big or Go Home in September

    Scholastic offers various point incentives all year long. Their best month to order books is in September. This month offers the most bonus point than any other month. One large order during the month of September can give your library a nice fresh update to start the school year.

    I hope you found these tips useful as you continue using Scholastic Book Clubs in your classroom. Happy reading!

    My name is Juan Gonzalez Jr. and I’m in love with Scholastic Book Clubs. The feeling of receiving book catalogs and making a wish list is pure magic. This is why sharing Scholastic Book Clubs with my students is always a special moment. It’s more than asking the readers to go shopping. This is an experience that helps our growing readers develop their reading identity because they are choosing books they wish to read. It’s a big deal! I also love Book Clubs because it’s my number one source that has helped me get books into my classroom and in the hands of my students.

    Over the years, I have learned some tips and tricks that have helped increase access to books for my students with the use of Book Clubs. If you are new to the process or need some ideas on how to improve Scholastic Book Clubs in your classroom, keep reading!

    Order Different Catalogs

    Expose your readers to a variety of book selections. Rather than sticking to your grade level, consider sending home multiple types of catalogs. Scholastic Book Clubs has different catalogs that range from grade level, age groups, and specialty topics. When the students have more choices, they are more likely to find books that pique their interest. You can add catalog choices to your account online or by calling Scholastic.

    Browse the Catalogs Together

    Don’t just send home the catalogs. Pass them out and browse through them together. The catalogs are wonderful for talking about books with your students. Even if students don’t have the opportunity to purchase books, browsing helps with finding books to add to their reading wish list. Plus, it gives me information on what my readers are interested in. I use this information to purchase new titles for our classroom library.

    Send Home Letters With the Catalogs

    Attaching letters to the catalogs has increased parent engagement tremendously. The letters I make include the following information:

    • Due date
    • Online classroom order code (found in your online profile)
    • Website URL for online orders
    • Payment instructions
    • Book recommendations

    I staple my letters to the front of my catalogs before sending them home with my students. Providing these details for families allows them to be connected to the process and it continues the conversation about books with their children.

    Click on the image to download a copy of a generic letter that you may edit and use with your families.

    What About the Students Who Can’t Buy Books?

    I know that not every student is going to have the chance to purchase books. The best part of the Book Club program is that teachers get points based on the dollar amount spent. The bigger the order, the more bonus points are added to your account. When students express a desire for a certain book but cannot purchase it themselves, I make a note to myself and use my bonus points to get the books into our classroom library. This allows for those readers who can’t purchase books to still get access to texts that interest them.

    ADDITIONAL TIPS

    Save Your Bonus Points

    I used to be the teacher who would spend ALL my bonus points in one order. How is one supposed to control themselves with free books? I have now learned to spend my points strategically and save them throughout the year. Having a bank of points allows me to pick up titles throughout the year as students' interests change.

    Go Big or Go Home in September

    Scholastic offers various point incentives all year long. Their best month to order books is in September. This month offers the most bonus point than any other month. One large order during the month of September can give your library a nice fresh update to start the school year.

    I hope you found these tips useful as you continue using Scholastic Book Clubs in your classroom. Happy reading!

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