I recently received a few questions from a great reader Courtney who wants to get started using novels in her classroom. After answering her I decided that these are questions that many of you may have, so I will share an elaborated answer with everyone. Here were some of her questions:
- How in the world do you decide which novels to use and when?
- How do the logistics of even getting/having these novels work? By this I mean, how do you go about ordering copies for your classes? How many copies do you order?
I am going to put my answers to her into a 4 step process, that I will call Novel Basics.
- Step 1: Research – buy & read many novels
- Step 2: Find funding & buy the novels
- Step 3: Organize the novels
- Step 4: Plan for the novels
Step 1: Research – buy & read many novels
Pick your favorites
Figure out how many separate novels and how many copies of each you need.
- Many teachers start with requesting one novel set and teachers package for each level.This allows you to get your feet wet and if it goes well you can then read the same novels in multiple levels.
- If money is not an issue, request one novel per student in each level.
- If funds are tight, books in class sets of 25 are discounted at TPRS Publishing. I will share in the next post how to organize and implement class sets of novels.
- Even if funds are tight make getting the teacher’s package with the teacher’s guide and audio book a priority! These guides are a lifeline and make your first time trying out a new novel so much smoother and more successful.
Step 2: Find funding
There are many ways that I have heard of getting novels funded. The best and easiest is simply purchasing novels instead of a textbook when your curriculum money comes available. If not, I would go through the three steps below, it that order.
Ask your school for funding.
- I started by requesting four novel sets with the teacher’s package (guide and audio book) from my school, one for each level.
- I am sure your district has a reading goal, so in your proposal emphasize how reading in L2 helps with L1.
- If there is no money in the general or curriculum fund, make sure to ask the PTO and School or Community Foundation. If there is still no money check out the next option.
- There are many local, state, and national grants for teachers.
- For example there is this education grant in my area & the IWLA grant for language teachers in Iowa.
- I have learned the secret is just to apply! Use some time this summer to do some research and prepare some killer grants. Sell yourself by aligning to your district’s reading goals.
Ask for donations
- I have never personally tried this but I know of teachers with success in crowd sourcing sites such as www.gofundme.com & www.donorschoose.org.
- I have heard that at some schools, students are responsible for purchasing the class novels. I know in high school I had to buy a $15 dollar Spanish workbooks at school registration, so this would not be any different. If possible you could set a $20 fee for Spanish class, which would allow you to purchase 4 books per class. If this were the case, you would want to make sure to have extras in case a students was not able to purchase them.
How would you answer the questions above? Do you have other methods of choosing and funding the purchase of novels? If you do please share!
Up next Step 3: Organize the novels & Step 4: Plan for the novels!