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5 Ways to Grow Your Students’ Libraries

April 26, 2021 by Janessa Fletcher

Libraries… as teachers, it is usually the first part of the classroom that we create. We strive to make it a safe, and comfortable place for our students. We are proud of our classroom library and urge our students to use it while at school. But what about when our students aren’t at school? How can we encourage our students to keep reading while at home? And how can we get those stories into their hands without breaking the bank? 🤑 Let’s chat about some Ways to Grow Your Students’ Libraries.

Way #1 – Create a Reading Binder

At the beginning of the year, I give my students a binder with empty page protectors inside. (I usually try to start with 20-25 in each binder).  Throughout the year, we use fluency passages to practice reading speed and comprehension. After we have used these passages in small groups, or as independent practice, they are placed in the reading binder. By the end of the school year, they have a binder filled with a variety of fiction and non-fiction stories they can practice reading.

#2 – Shop Scholastic $1 Books

Whenever I get a Scholastic book order form, the first thing I do is check the top right corner for the $1 book deal. I will order at least 10 of that title and give them out as prizes, gifts, or just because. My students are always thrilled to take home a new book. 🥰

Way #3 – Mini-Booklets and More

I love to send little readers home with my students that we have used in small groups or literacy stations. These mini-booklets may be themed based on the year, help students work on sight words, or for beginning readers, practice the alphabet and related phonics skills. They really take pride in being able to bring those booklets home and read them to family members.

Sight Word Booklets and Passages
Monthly Mini-Booklets


#4 – Host a Book Exchange

This is one of my favorite events every year! 😍 Each of my students brings in a gently used book from home to exchange for another book. This way, the students are going home with a book that is “new” to them. It has become an annual event in my classroom that my past students talk about year after year. (Tip ~ Make sure that you include a few books as well, just in case you have a few students who forget. 😉)


Way #5 – Go Digital!

I’ve taken advantage of the fact that my students prefer to hold a tablet in their hands instead of a book. So, I send them digital fluency passages, or encourage them to visit online libraries such as StoryLine Online, or Epic.


Bonus Way #6 – Promote Your Local Library

Every spring, the local libraries near our school come and promote their summer reading program. My students get so excited about the game board and prizes they can earn while reading over the summer. Why not use that excitement during the school year also? I create my own game board and encourage my students to visit our library and check out books they can read at home. This school year game is very similar to the summer program, except students bring their game boards to me and I am the one to give the prizes. They can also use the books they check out from our school library on the game board too. 📚


Help your students continue their reading progress when they are at home by helping to grow their libraries. There aren’t many things that we can control once they leave our classrooms, but at least we can give them the tools to be successful when they are not with us.

How do you get more books into your students’ hands? I would love to hear your ideas, so please don’t be shy. 💙💛🧡

Written by: Janessa Fletcher

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