Sunday, December 18, 2011

So Many Books! So Little Money! How far can $250 go?

I am a Reading Workshop teacher, which means my classroom library is the center of my literacy instruction.   Like many teachers out there I spend a great deal of my own money to purchase books for my classroom library.  I am very resourceful and have even found great deals on ebay.  I accept donations from librarian friends and past students too.  My bonus points from Scholastic book clubs are also helpful.  I even got a donorschoose project funded for math books.  And don't tell anyone, but I sometimes use the guided reading books to supplement my class library collection.  My school has invested money in creating a book room with a collection of books for guided reading.  They have also recently purchased a basal reading series.  But support for building classroom libraries has been less than adequate.  So, I am very excited that my principal has given each teacher $250 to purchase books.  Of course, I have decided to use the money to add to my classroom library.

I have been going through my wish list of books over and over.  I have asked my twitter friends for recommendations.  The problem isn't coming up with a list of books.  The problem is whittling down my list to under $250!  I teach second grade, which means my students' independent reading levels span a wide range - from Piggie and Elephant books to chapter books like Magic Tree House.   After some thought, I have decided to purchase more series books.  During the summer I purchased more books for my lower level readers since I felt my library was lacking in that area.  After looking at my collections I decided I needed more books in the Nate the Great or Pinky and Rex level.  It seems that there is a big jump from beginning chapter books with picture support to longer chapter books with little picture support.  And many of my students have problems with endurance when reading Horrible Harry or Cam Jansen books.  And I am also hoping I can add some books for my higher readers.  So here's my list.  I would really love your opinion.  Most I have read, but there are some books that I will need to go to my public library to read before making the final selections.  I know my list goes over the $250, but some of these books I can get with my Scholastic bonus points too.

Frankie Pickle: I've only read one of the books, but I think second graders will love Frankie, especially my boys.

Down Girl and Sit Series: These are shorter chapter books. Second graders love dogs and these are funny!

Keena Ford books: There are 3 books so far in this series that I haven't read yet, but they look like great reads for second graders.

Andy Shane books:  I have read one so far and I liked it.

Toon Books by Candlewick Press: I absolutely love these graphic novels!  I checked several out of my local public library last summer and have had them on my wishlist.  The only graphic novel I have in my library is Baby Mouse.  The books are very popular with my higher readers.  I love Baby Mouse!  I would also like to add Squish and Sticky Burr to my collection of graphic novels.

I always have a student that enjoys the one Geronimo Stilton book I have, so I thought I would get some more.  Has anyone read the Franny K. Stein books?  Do your students enjoy them?

Ivy and Bean:  Great series, especially for girls.  Longer chapter book - right now this books is for my higher readers, but by the end of the year many others will be able to read it.

I also like Marty McGuire and Bink and Gollie.  My students already love Mercy Watson books.

Here's some series that I have not read yet.  Please tell me if your students enjoy reading them.  Tell me what you think!

The Buddy Files
Andrew Lost Series
Owen Foote
Roscoe Riley Rules
The Fairy Chronicles

What do you think of my list?  Is there any book that you think is missing?  What are your students reading?


  1. Hello!
    I teach first grade and we use a lot of the Guided Reading books. I am going to look over your list more closely to get some ideas for those students who are reading above grade level. Great list!

    ❁Beth Ann❁
    Taming My Flock of Firsties

  2. Thanks Beth Ann! I get lots of book ideas from twitter. One of my favorite blogs is Watch, Connect, Read, written by @MrSchreads. He always has great new book ideas!