If you are a new teacher, you might walk into your new classroom and find the closets and cabinets full of literacy curriculum materials from the last twenty years (literally). And if you are an experienced teacher, you might be the one filling those closets! Or maybe you just inherited some piles when moving classrooms. Either way, we all know the sight of the hallway just full of books and workbooks lined up next to the doors waiting to be picked up by the janitorial staff.
Have you ever thought about how you could repurpose SOME (not all!) of these materials? Here are a few suggestions.
Keep two copies of old basal readers or intervention readers (I've seen a lot of these that are basically like paperback basals only the text is easier) and put them in bins for partner reading. The kids love them not only because it is something different, but because there are so many choices inside to choose from. Plus they can practice using text features like the table of contents while exploring the texts.
Books for Small Group
Scour the materials for any sets of leveled or decodable books! I've even kept a set of 6 old basal readers for small group. Sometimes there are classic stories buried inside that you can use when you find the right occasion. Granted, if you have a huge library of leveled books in your school you probably don't need to do this. But if you are lacking in sets of books, take what you can get your hands on!
Give Away the Workbooks
Give away the old workbooks to your students no matter how old or useless they look! Especially if you work in a lower income area where students don't have as many resources at home. Even if just one kid pulls out that workbook at home and pretends to play school or does some extra phonics or comprehension work, it will have been worth not sending them straight to the trash. I typically don't use even the current workbooks provided to me, so this is something I always do at the end of the year anyway. That way if a parent wants something for their child to practice with over the summer, it's there.
Take Home Readers
I've found bins and bins of little decodable readers or leveled readers that were missing their sets in curriculum closets. I like to use these to send home with my struggling readers, either for the summer or just to read at night during the school year. Typically, I never get the books back and this way it doesn't bother me at all because they were just headed for the trash anyway!
Throw the Rest Away
Now what do I do with old teacher manuals and all the rest? Throw them away. I am by no means a pack rat, I've just worked in places where you have to be resourceful!
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