Bargain Book Boxes

30 September 2015

It's Jen from An Adventure in Literacy here to talk about student book boxes. It is a primary teacher's dream to have those colorful, fancy book boxes from Really Good Stuff for each student to store their independent reading books. If you're not quite ready to make the costly investment, here are a few cheaper alternatives.


Ikea has a pack of 5 cardboard book boxes for $2. That's around $10 for a class set! These are white cardboard so students can decorate them with markers, stickers, etc. You can also order these online, but the shipping isn't cheap. They do get pretty rough looking by the end of the year, but they are cheap enough to buy a new set next year. (I also use these to organize my thematic classroom books that I use seasonally.)



You can usually find these bins in blue or white at Walmart, Big Lots, etc for around $1-2 each. They're not quite as sturdy as book bins, but they are a similar size and you can't beat the price!



These are from Dollar Tree a few years ago. Dollar Tree has a huge selection of bins, so check them out for something that might work for you.

If you don't have space for individual student bins, here are a few space saver options:


These give students a place to store their books that they can put in their desk, cubby or seat pocket.



I always use gallon Ziplocs for take home books but the work great for student classroom books too. Last year I found these decorative bags at Ikea. They were a little bigger than gallon size which was nice. They didn't hold up quite as well, but they were cheap enough to replace as needed. You can also order student take home book bags in many different sizes, materials, and colors.

If you're still all about the pretty plastic bins here are a few cheaper choices:


Years ago you could buy these for $1. Now they are in the in the Target dollar spot for $3 at the beginning of the year if you're lucky enough to get them before some other teacher buys them all!
You can order these bins at Steps to Literacy. They are very similar to the Really Good Stuff bins but a little cheaper ($4 each or 20 for $70). I haven't used them personally, but I've heard good things about them.

If you want super cheap book boxes, write a grant. Nothing beats free! After 12 years of teacher I finally wrote a mini grant for my local education foundation to get a class set of book boxes. It was such a happy day when those beautiful book boxes arrived.  Try donors choose or your local education foundation to see if you can get a book box grant funded.

I bought business card sticky pockets (online from Costco) to put on the front of each book box. Each student decorated a blank business card with their name and a design. This made it easy to let them personalize the book boxes while being able to reuse them each year. I also use these for my classroom book bins that change seasonally.


I hope you've found a few (cheaper) ideas for student book boxes in your classroom. Nothing beats letting each student choose and store their own books to read! Do you have other ideas for student book boxes? Leave us a comment, we'd love to hear from you!

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