A few weeks back, I shared a blog post all about how to build a classroom library on a budget. In this post, I want to dive deep into one of those tips. I am going to share how to get more out of Scholastic book orders.
Did you know? You can watch or listen to this information on my YouTube channel too!
Scholastic sends a LOT of book order flyers. I’ve had upwards of 10 different flyers in my mailbox at one time. Too many! I choose 1-2 to send home to families, so they I don’t overwhelm them. I pick flyers that are grade-level appropriate and meet my students’ interests.
Once I’ve chosen the flyers, I don’t just put them in student mailboxes. We look at them together as a class! I pass them out and give students a few minutes to peruse the fliers. This gives them the opportunity to see what books are available. I love hearing them talk about books!
We then create a class wishlist of books. My students tell me which books they would be interested in having in our classroom library. This is helpful when I go to use my bonus points – I know exactly which books to order!
I use these book order forms to help keep track of the books students want in our library.
An Important Letter
I send the flyers home with a letter to families. In this letter, I provide:
- the scholastic website
- our class code
- directions for ordering
- due date for orders
I also include a list of books that I recommend for students. This gives families a starting point when they are deciding what to order. This letter is printed on brightly colored paper so that it is easy to see in student folders.
The Due Date
Families then have 1-2 weeks to order books. I have found that if I give more time than that, I actually get less orders. If the due date is too far away, it gets forgotten about. This time frame seemed to be the sweet spot for me!
While we are waiting for orders to come back in, I make sure to build excitement in the classroom. I don’t ever “push” orders on families. I am aware of my classroom demographics and family situations. I simply want to give them the opportunity to order books for their child in an easy way (and earn books for our classroom).
The Books are Here!
Once the book order arrives in the mail, I put individual student orders in their cubbies or mailboxes right away (so as not to bring attention to who ordered and who did not).
The class box of books, however, is a different story! I leave the unopened box in a very prominent place in the classroom. I make sure that all students can see it, but we don’t open it right away.
When we can’t stand it any longer, we dig in to see which new books we got! I make a big deal out of this. The class gets together in a big circle and I pull out all the books slowly. I give students a chance to look at them, hold them and discuss them. This really engages the kids in the books that are now in our classroom. It also shows them how truly special books are.
In the upper grades, I would take this a step further. I would raffle off the chance to be the first to read a brand new book. Check out this blog post on book raffles!
This big reveal helps get more out of Scholastic book orders because students are SO excited to see what we got!
The last thing I do is write a thank you note. I want families to know that I am appreciative of their orders and that our class library has grown because of those orders.
In the thank you note, I like to share a photo. Sometimes I use a photo of the giant pile of books we earned. Or, I have students hold up the books and take a class picture.
This thank you note can quickly and easily be sent by email. You could also involve students in the process and have them create handwritten thank you cards. This simple act goes a long way!
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