A love of reading is the great gift we can give students. As a 1st grade teacher and a former 5th grade teacher, fostering a community of readers consumes/consumed much of my time and energy…and it should! Reading opens doors, it expands worlds, and it connects us to the rest of the world. Research repeatedly says the more time students spend reading the better readers they will become. We, as teachers, cannot assume that students are reading at home. We must provide reading time within our daily schedule and that means we need awesome classroom libraries that tell students – “I love reading, and you should too.” Teaching is really expensive and classroom libraries are even more expensive. Although I love hitting up Good Will, thrift stores, and yard sales as much as any other teacher, my go-to for building my classroom library is always Scholastic Reading Club.
Organizing it All
On the left side of the folder, I keep any free-book coupons (from back-ordered items), bonus points, and birthday coupons. I like to designate a spot for these, so I make sure to use them. It’s too easy for them to become lost, and I hate losing-out on free books! On the right side of the folder, I keep all of the order-management materials – any paper orders students bring in, my mail-in order envelope (I put orders directly here so I don’t have to guess where they are), online order-code labels (which Scholastic provided this year!!! and you can always print some from your online Teacher’s Desk), and extra reminder bracelets.
Preparing for the Order
At the end of the day, I take 10 minutes after reflection (right before dismissal) to introduce the catalogs to students. My friends LOVE searching for their favorites books or books we’ve read together in class.
Connecting and Supporting Families
Ordering Online – Simply!
Maximizing Your Money and Bonus Points
About Your Bonus Points
THE BOOKS ARE HERE
We go around the room and each friend pulls out a book. As students look in the box, their eyes are HUGE and their friends giggle. Below you will see a month where I used LOTS of our bonus points. We sit around looking at the books, talking about if we know the characters, if they are nonfiction/fiction books, etc.
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Lori Huhne says
Great tips! But I couldn't download the editable reminder bracelet:(
Hi Lori! I just double-checked the links and they seem to be working now. Will you please re-try? Thank you! 🙂
Breanna Newell says
I just put my computer away for the night and had to get back on because I had to check and see which books I'll want to buy! I LOVE Scholastic, but I never knew hitting the $300 mark would benefit us SO much! I THANK YOU! (Even if my wallet doesn't) 😉 I am dying to place my September order!
Yay, Brenna!! I'm so excited for your classroom, too. The $300 mark is the sweet spot in terms of points. I am placing my order on Wednesday morning and can hardly wait – eek! 🙂
Great suggestions – thank you! I appreciate the freebies too. I am looking forward to sending my first order home this week.
Kelly Koonce says
This is a great post! Thanks for sharing all of that great info! I didn't know about the birthday coupons, so I am super excited about those!!
So when your students give you orders, you do it all online? Do you send their cash or pay with a card?
Hi Kortnee! I do submit their order online but mail-in their check. Scholastic trusts teachers to send-in the money, so you don't have to cover the cost with your own debit card – which is wonderful!
So when your students give you orders, you do it all online? Do you send their cash or pay with a card?
Marcy Howe says
A fun post. Thanks. To tempt my sixth graders, I read aloud some of the titles from the book order after I've handed them out. This sparks interest and gets kiddos to look more closely at the order. I've never hit the $300.00 mark. As a middle school teacher, I've found it difficult to get that high. I have certainly earned my share of bouns points and have "purchased" some great items from the catalog. Sept. is usually the month with the best rewards for ordering, but keep your eyes posted for coupons and monthly bonus point rewards. When my order arrives, I show each book I was able to get for the classroom. I let the class know they will be ready for checking out within a day. There's always a run on our new classroom library books from Scholastic. I think I get more excited than the students when the box arrives!
Hi Marcy! When I taught 5th grade, maximizing book orders was all about making it a social experience. Students loved the chance to make "wish-lists" for our classroom library, as well as, encourage their friends to check out new books. When we welcomed new books, I always held Book Raffles which were a fun (and more equitable) way to distribute books! http://thebrownbagteacher.blogspot.com/2014/03/book-raffles.html
I LOVE the idea of a wish list! I think that would be a great first writing activity for my first graders, who have just started the year. We haven’t finished introducing the Daily 5, and that would be a simple way to begin the Writing center!
Do you have a template you use ?
Hi Katy! Thanks so much for the note. I’ve shared all about Work on Writing here – http://brownbagteacher.com/work-on-writing-ideas/
Kayla Root says
Last year as a first year teacher Scholastic was HUGE in building my first library with books the kids and I loved. I never quite made it to the same level as you but this year I am hopefully! Thanks for the freebies to help communicate with parents!!
The Chalkboard Garden
Switching grades from 5th to 1st, Scholastic has been a tremendous help to me, too! I definitely don't make the top tier of spending every month, but always try to in September because the rewards are so high. Thanks so much for stopping by! 🙂
We get a lot of magazines, and not all of the teachers use them, so I use the extras for a math center. The students make a list of all of the books that they are interested in, then order them from most expensive to least expensive. Once they have their list, they have to decide what they would buy if they only had $20 to spend. This way they know what books they want, but are prepared to give some up if there isn't a lot of money to spend. Next month I'm adding a persuasive writing element to it- how do you persuade your family to buy you the books you want.
I LOVE this post! I have ordered from Scholastic for years, and I hardly ever purchase books from anywhere else. I am new to parent orders though. In the school I taught at for 13 years, I would send home the orders every month, but with it being an extremely low income school, I think I had maybe a handful of students over the years purchase the $1 book. I would always spend a ton of my own money, and the only bonus points I earned were from my own spending 😉 I am now at a school where the parents are more interested in purchasing books. I'm definitely going to use your tips. I'm so bummed that I already make my September order though, so I missed out on all of those benefits from reaching $300 🙁
That's exciting that your parents will place orders this year. The points are a HUGE benefit to the classroom. Even through you missed this month, other months have great incentives, too. In October, if you have a order of $150, you get a class-set of a book (which is great for a book study or a Christmas gift)! Thanks for stopping by, Jodi. 🙂
Lindsay Berryhill says
Suddenly I am excited about Scholastic book orders. Thank you for this post!
Thanks so much for the editable notes to send home! I love scholastic and all the bonus points and freebies they give!
John Tyler Anderson says
Do you know if you can submit multiple orders before September 30th and it will count towards the 10,000 points? I have some paper and some online orders…. does everything before Sept. 30th count towards the $300 line for the points?
Wondering how it works if some orders are paper and some online. Also wondering if I can submit early orders or need to wait until everything is in.
Alicia Wittmer says
They do! It is wonderful! I had the same question (I had my first online orders) and it all worked for my advantage. LOVE it!
Hi John! All paper and online orders placed at one time count toward the $300. You will place your student's paper orders online and then send-in the money. I would wait until everything is in (and then a few days just to make sure) to place your order! 🙂
Alicia Wittmer says
I love reading this! I adore Scholastic, and I still use my folder from my first year, too 🙂
I am definitely going to use a bracelet reminder. My students are always so eager! I do, however, send home many flyers at once. But, it's because SO many of my students have siblings in either kindergartner or upper grades and I want the whole family to take advantage. Thanks for sharing your wealth of knowledge!
Elizabeth Garland says
I'm a second year teacher in 1st grade. Last year I didn't use scholastic. Really I didn't have the time. You inspired me with this post back in September and I did my first order and was ecstatic with all the free books and points I got!
I'm planning this month's order for myself, and I remembered reading that you are building up your guided reading books. I was wondering if you have a list of suggested books you choose for guided reading or how do you go about choosing books? This is a big goal of mine, to switch from the printable books to real books for guided reading.
I recently submitted my scholastic book order. Because I spent a certain amount of money, I earned a class set of free book coupons. How much is each coupon worth? Can I use these myself as a teacher for my own classroom or are students only allowed to use these? Also, can I use more than one at a time?
Anony 10:45am–I bet you earned the same coupons we did. I gave one to every student and was able to use a few myself on books I was ordering (as a customer, not with teacher points or anything).
Those specific coupons were a free book up to $5 if you spent $10. Hope that helps!
Do they still have the birthday coupons?
Heather Camuso says
Awesome tips! I'm starting my first year of teaching and I am glad to have a nice run down on how to make this great program work for our classroom library.
I am a scholastic lover just like you! I love the idea of sharing the books with the whole class. I usually just add them to the library and tell the kids to be on the lookout. My favorite way to reach the benchmark on the fall order is to order ALL of my Christmas presents for my nieces and nephews. I try to pick a series or two that they would like and I look for floor puzzles or something else hands on. They always get books from me for birthdays, Christmas, etc.
I love Scholastic too! To make it to the $300 mark I volunteer to send the order for the team. This way I have four classes help to order $300 worth of books. Then the four teachers share the bonus points. This way we usually have huge orders that get all of the freebies. I also order books at Christmas and at the end of the year for the team. To drum up interest before the order forms go home I have the students look at the order form and call out books that they are excited about.
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Hi! How/where do you purchase the birthday coupons for the class? Thanks so much!
On the Reading Club website! I snag my set sometime in September. 🙂
Do you send home your scholastic catalogs at the beginning of the month or closer to the due date? I used to send home right at the beginning and give them the whole month to look over, now I am thinking that was too much time.
What is your timeline look like?
Hi Miranda! I typically wait until families have received their first paycheck of the month. When I send it home, I ask it be submitted with 7 days. This keeps it fresh on families minds and gives me some deadline wiggle room! 🙂
I am a complete book freak and I teach 2nd grade. I am so pleased to say that 95% of the books in my classroom are color coded and Lexiled. The last 5% are in the big box I have not had a chance to get out to my class yet. I order enough books that I get the free incentives for each one of my students. We just had Trick or Treat night at our school. I gave these items out instead of candy. Friday I couldn’t believe how many students came and said thank you for their special treat most were not from my class or my grade level. I love the idea about the birthday book coupons. I have never thought about doing that. Thanks for the great tip. I put free books in my treasure box and the students can buy books with the tickets they earn for doing the right thing in class, helping another student or just because. I also pass around an issue and let students pick books to add to our library. That way if not everyone gets to order one for themselves I have a copy available for them to read in class or take home until they finish. The other teachers think I’m nuts or just have an abundance of money to spend but you’re right it’s about making good choices. Before teaching 2nd, I worked as an aide in a middle school. I was so disappointed to see how many students make it to middle school without knowing how to read books other than BR books.
Thanks for the info about the birthday coupons!
I love Scholastic also!!! It is quite the addiction! I love the note that you sent home at the beginning of the year with the book order. Is that something you are willing to share? Is it in the blog and I just missed it.
Hi Ashley! The link to the note and the reminder braclets are in the blog post. You can snag them for free! 🙂
I just want to say thank you for letting me know about the September bonuses. As a parent, I always want to help out our classroom teachers and will spend extra in September going forward to help those teachers reach the goals. I LOVE to read and so enjoy sharing that with my kids. Scholastic gets its own line in my family budget as we find such great deals and often donate the good condition books back to our favorite teachers once we move past that reading level.
Hi! Just wondering if Scholastic still does the Birthday coupons? Thanks!
Hey Tara! They now offer them August – December and are $50 for 30 $5 coupons, so they have definitely gone up in price!