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7 ways to get free books for your classroom

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Theo Thimou |
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Teachers are a hard-working and selfless bunch, often spending their own money on supplies for their classrooms. Fortunately, there’s a way for them to stretch their budget by getting free books for their students. Share this list with your favorite teacher!

How to get free books for a school

1. National Book Bank – If you teach at a Title I school where at least 70% of the students come from low-income families, you’re eligible for free books from Publishers donate large quantities of free books on a monthly basis. The only out-of-pocket cost is shipping, which can cost up to 70 cents per book.

2. Kids Need to Read – Program requirements for Kids Need to Read include that you must serve a school population with at least 50% of children living at or below the national poverty level. There’s a rigorous applicant process but no guarantee of acceptance even if you meet the requirements.

3. Library of Congress – Through its surplus program, the Library of Congress makes a wide range of books available for free to teachers. One caveat though: You must pick the books up in person either yourself or through an authorized representative. If your school is already planning a trip to Washington, D.C., put this stop on the itinerary!

4. Reading Resource Project – An initiative from the Literacy Empowerment Foundation, the Reading Resource Project offers free softcover books for Pre-K through second grade. The only out-of-pocket cost is shipping, which is 88 cents per book.

5. McDonald’s: Though it’s not currently current doing so, McDonald’s will occasionally offer free books with Happy Meals instead of toys. The last time this initiative took place was February 2016.

6. Barnes & Noble: This bookseller’s Summer Reading Triathlon program rewards kids from grades one to six with a free book after they read and write about one of their existing favorite books. This program is ongoing through Sept. 6.

7. Dollar General: Since its inception 23 years ago, the Dollar General Literacy Foundation has awarded more than $120 million in grants to nonprofit organizations. With the Youth Literacy Grant, you or your school can get up to $4,000 to buy books, materials or software for literacy programs.