Many of us who have set up reading programs are astounded at the number of books needed to keep students engaged and challenged. While a more highly developed reader may take a week or more to digest one book, early readers may go through several books in just one session. We want our students to enthusiastically devour a wide range of books, but the cost of an adequate library can seem daunting.
Fortunately, there are many sources for inexpensive (and sometimes free!) books. In addition to the materials mentioned below, bargains can be found at library sales, garage sales, and thrift shops. Sometimes you can find real treasures–so keep hunting!
Books that you can download
These online books are a program director’s dream! They can be downloaded, printed, and assembled quite easily. At these prices, we can afford to let our students take these books home and keep them.
When children are able to repeatedly reread their own books at home, their future reading ability is markedly improved.
Learning Page members can download these books for more advanced readers at no charge. Some of these books are also available in Spanish. (Membership in Learning Page is free.)
These collections are an inexpensive and renewable source for easy books. Written and published for inexpensive reproduction, these black-line masters won’t drain your ink supply.
I must admit, however, that most of them are not exactly what I would call great children’s literature–so use them sparingly. Remember that we want our students to love to read!
Decodable Little Books by Christine E. McCormick
Sight Word Stories by Gloria Lapin
More Sight-Word Stories by Gloria Lapin
Beginning Reading for Older Students: 30 Reproducible High-Interest/Emergent Skills Stories for the Classroom and the Home by Gloria Lapin.
Reading Success Mini-Books: Word Families
Researchers at The Ohio State University have developed inexpensive collections of books that develop reading strategies. At 25 cents per book, they are intended to be kept by children who need to build a home library of books to call their own. They are distributed on a not-for-profit basis by The Ohio State University Literacy Collaborative.