Monday, October 14, 2013

Great Way to Get Books for Your Counselor Library

Books, books, books!!!  How many times have you gone to a book store and find yourself wondering in the children's/young adult section to find books to use for work?  I certainly have.   I use books for many things: classroom lessons, resources for parents & students, my book clubs and our character ed book bucks cart.  I love the joy that reading brings and encourage students to read regularly to take on the joy of reading.

Copy of character book bucks. 
I've talked about our character ed book bucks reward incentive program previously, but I'll mention it again.  When students are showing good character by showing one or more of the character education traits (respect, responsibility, good judgement, perseverance, kindness, integrity& self discipline ) they may be rewarded with a character ed book buck from a teacher, staff member or school safety patrol member.  On Friday's students may trade in book bucks for a book, 5 book bucks = 1 book, 10 book bucks = 2 books and so on.  Our book supply had gotten quite thin and were mainly younger children's books.  So our main "customers" were Kindergarten - 2nd grade.   
Book bucks cart before new books were added...I know kind of thin

Every week students would ask "do you have any chapter books?" and I'd have to say "well there are a few, but they get gone quickly".  So here's where the awesome opportunity comes up.....our county library has an annual book sale, however before the books go on sale to the public there's a special day where educators can come and get as many books as they want (they even provide the boxes).   I feel like I had the ultimate opportunity of a lifetime on getting books for an awesome (my favorite price)!  The literacy teacher and myself went with a get as many chapter and children's books for the character ed book bucks cart at our school. 

We arrived at the library sale bright and early, dressed in our comfy clothes, tennis shoes with a hand truck in tow ready to book shop.  There were rows and rows of tables full of books.  Thank goodness they were separated into groups (Children's, Young Adults, Adult Fiction, etc.) so of course we headed right to the children's section, which by the way everyone else was in too.   Since we were there fairly early, we had plenty of time to look through the tables of books.  At times I will admit it was a bit overwhelming with all the books but I after a while I got in a rhythm of choosing chapter books from popular children's series (Harry Potter, Magic Tree House, etc).  I also realized that a lot of our students (both male & female) are really into science fiction so I began choosing books based on book cover appearance that looked like they might be science fiction.  Any book with a dragon, ghost, knight or warrior I picked up and put in the box!   As stated before before our goal was to get chapter books but if we saw books to go in our professional libraries we wouldn't pass on them either.  So after 2 and a half hours and 28 boxes of books later we felt quite successful in our task of book shopping.  Once we arrived at school, we sorted the books  and I "updated" the book bucks cart. We now have a side of the cart for young children's beginner books and a side for chapter books.

This is only half of the book sale area, see why I was a little overwhelmed!
These educators are on a book mission.
Books we collected...28 boxes worth
 I'll use these books all year to refill the cart as needed (parents also donate books throughout the year).  I highly encourage you to make use of your local library book sale (check with your library about it).  As you can see, this was so like hitting the jackpot!  On book buck day, we had an astounding number of students coming to get their "new" chapter books (I guess the news traveled fast).  I know that I heard "wow" at least 10 times as students searched for their books.  After finding "the perfect book" the students looked like they had hit the jackpot.  Their faces told it all, I even saw a few reading their books during carpool.  Seeing their excitement shows me that all of us hit the jackpot!

Children's Beginner Books Side
Chapter Books!
Searching for the perfect chapter book!  This is before the large crowd came.
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  1. Andrea! I live this idea of tying in Character ed/positive behavior with literacy! This is something that I would love to do at our school in the future! Thank for sharing!!


  2. Thanks Ann Marie, I love that my school lets me combine my loves of school counseling and reading, what a great combination! It's worked very well and the students seems to enjoy it. I also encourage parents to donate gently used books to the cart too.