Funding Sources For Novels In Your Classroom

by | Jul 25, 2019 | Teaching Strategies | 0 comments

Welcome to the fourth installment in my video series about using novels in your classroom.

In today’s video, I discuss how to find the funds you need in order to provide novels for your students. 

Ready to binge watch the whole series? Click here to see them all!

Find the video below. 

Transcription of Video

Hi, this is Amy from TeachingIdeas4U and I am back to talk to you today about funding sources for books for your classroom.

There are some faster sources and then there are some longer-term sources that take some planning and organization to possibly get. I know funding is often a real challenge for teachers. Sometimes we can get lucky and the library has them or we already have sets of books in our classroom, but what if we don’t And then we need to purchase some books. I’ve had to borrow and I’ve had to buy so I can give you some of the ways that I’ve used and I’ve researched some things on the internet.

Today is going to be fast. This is our fourth video in our book series We’ve already talked about why we should use books, good times to use books, and how to pick a good book.

And today we’re going to talk about how can we afford those books, which I know for me has always been a challenge. Let me pull up my presentation station here for you and let’s get talking about finding some money.

There are some local sources and local sources tend to be faster. If you’ve discovered a great book and you’d really like it right away, I would try the local sources first.

Honestly, I would try local sources first no matter what. But first of all, I would just ask my principal or my other admin that’s in charge of the money because honestly sometimes there is book money.

There isn’t always money for non-curriculum things, but you never know. You can always ask. The worst that you can be told is no. Another place I ask is the parent teacher organization. You’d be surprised, but sometimes they’re willing to fund in some resources for your class too.

Borrowing Books

Sometimes I’ve borrowed books from other schools. I mean if it wasn’t something that I had to have my own personal class set year after year after year, I would go to the librarian and I would just ask if there was a way for me to get x number of copies that I could borrow from other schools in the district.

I’m in a rather large district, so we had quite a few schools to pick from. The librarian could get like two books from one school, two books from another school, a book from this school, and we would cobble together enough for my class.

Now you may not be able to get a set of 20, but you might be able to get a set of six or eight. I mean that’s eight books you don’t have to buy. What’s nice is if their books in the district, then you often have a longer time that you can keep them without having problems.

If that doesn’t work, try the public library. Our public libraries are pretty good and they will actually extend the checkout times for teachers. Normally you get like three weeks. I think for teachers they would extend it to two months and I think they were a little bit forgiving with fines too.

So these are really great sources. If you’re trying to get books quickly or a set of books fast. Another place that I know people who’ve had success with is crowd funding on the Internet. You know there is Donors Choose. I know there are some school districts that don’t allow you to do that anymore.

Donors Choose I found was a real hit or miss. Like sometimes you get lucky and then somebody comes along and funds all the projects for x. But I found a lot of times you had to be begging your own people for money.

So if you’re like me, I’m from a family of teachers. So I just begged money from other people who also don’t have money, so that doesn’t work well always. But sometimes it does. And like I said, you hear about celebrities who just pay off all these projects and things.

So if you’re allowed to do it, it might be worth a chance. Ask parents. I have another friend who just simply asked parents to donate books. She also asked all of her Facebook friends, she actually did the dollar book club where Scholastic always as a book for a dollar or as I think she had people who just donated enough money that she could buy every kid a book every month.

You’d be amazed what people are willing to buy if they know that it’s going for something worthwhile.

So again, you might just ask parents, how many of you would be willing to buy a copy of the book again, even if you get half a class, it’s still better than you having to buy all those books.

And then there’s also places like Amazon and Barnes and nobles that allow people to have a wishlist. And sometimes I’ve heard of teachers who get a lot of their stuff purchased that way that people just look for these wishlists and they are like the wishlist fairy and they’ll help teachers buy supplies.

That might be another thing that you try and make sure you publish that you’ve done it. That isn’t as much of a guarantee, you know, as much as going to the principal and asking. It’s worth a chance if you can, but you might want to try kind of ahead of time. If you do this, you might want to ask a semester ahead of time so you can give people time to donate things.

Applying For Grants

Another way to get money is by grants. Grants take a lot of planning. They often have quite a few months of wait time.

So this is a way you can really get good books, but you do have to make sure that you really follow the rules. If you don’t follow the rules, you will not get funded. It’s just the way it is.

They have to have criteria because some of these grants get a lot of applications. And my advice, because I’ve gotten quite a few grants is to make sure that your project fits the mission of the grant. 

There is a reason the grant was founded; the grant has a goal and the thing that sometimes people kind of forget about is you may have a wonderful thing that you need money for, but if it doesn’t fit their mission, the organization’s mission, they will not fund you because they have to really have some way to pick who they’re going to fund and who they don’t.

I did a quick search and I searched for grants for books for school and then I searched for reading grants, book grants.

I kind of used those key terms and I found a whole bunch of grants. Some of these are more library grants, but that’s where you could easily get together with your librarian and say, hey, I’d really like a bunch of these.

If I work on a grant with you, would you be willing to put in for it? Some of these actually wanted people who were working with the librarians like their, their mission is to have libraries work with schools.

There are places where you have a better chance of getting funded. But these were some of the main ones that I felt had really good books for school focuses, but don’t discount local grant programs like our county here in Florida, they do have county grants that get given out.

Not all of them are going to be able to be used for books, but some of them can be. So they sometimes are a little bit easier to get because they’re not nationwide grants.

Like some of these might be state grants that I found. But you know, your smaller applicant pool is going to give you a better chance of getting funded. So if you have a county grant that you can get, you’re only really, you know, competing with other people in your county versus people throughout the whole country that are trying to get funded.

If you’re interested in taking grants, maybe if you’re on your phone screenshot this page to give you a list of grants. Aall of these dealt with books. Some of them were more library, like I said, but I felt like you might be able to get your school librarian to work with you on the grant.



The Cost Of Books

So again, when you are looking for books, don’t always feel like you have to put in fo your own pocket. Books have gotten very, very expensive.

I mean I remember when I was a kid and maybe this tells you how old I am, but  I used to buy books out of the Scholastic for like 50 cents. Like, and I remember sometimes my mom would be like, you can spend one dollar. Today when there’s like one book for a dollar, I swear it’s like the book that Scholastic is trying to push or they have so many extras of, they’re trying to get rid of it, but a lot of the books are like five bucks, eight bucks for a paperback, it’s just gotten to be so much.

So if you have 25 kids and you’re trying to get books, whether you’re using one class book or sets of books, I mean you do the math, you’re talking to 200 bucks and it’s one unit.

So teachers have to kind of get creative and be willing to just ask. I mean, the worst that can happen is you just don’t get funded or you’re told no, you know, and if that happens it happens.

Maybe you have to adjust your unit and find it a book that you do have available. But again, I think it’s important to, as a teacher to budget what you spend on your classroom because you know, our salaries just aren’t enough that we really can spend 10% of our salary on our class every year and pretend it’s okay.

It’s not. You know, there’s places you can go and get stuff funded. You’d be amazed at the kindness of strangers and how much they might be willing to help you and then put in for those grants, like plan ahead, if you know you’re staying in your grade level and you know what you want to do, put in a grant so that you can do it next year.

And then by the time you get the money you’ll be able to get the supplies.

So I hope this gave you some things or some places that you can go to look for money that maybe you hadn’t thought of before. I hope it helps you.

You know, I know I have spent a lot of my own personal money on class books and it really does become pretty expensive, especially if the kids lose the books or sometimes the books get damaged by accident. I mean, accidents happen, but when the books cost 10 bucks, it’s kinda, you know, heartbreaking.

So anyway, go ahead and consider places where you can find your books.

My name is Amy Mezni at TeachingIdeas4U. Please connect with me on Facebook, Instagram, Youtube. You can message me at my TPT store or you can find me on my own website, which is just

I appreciate you being here! Tomorrow, we’re going to talk about teaching with novels while still enjoying the book, so I hope you’ll come back and be with me tomorrow.

Thank you.

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Funding Sources For Novels In Your Classroom