1. They are free.
2. I need books for kids.
3. I cannot buy them on my own.
4. My school does not have funds for buying books.
5. ALL of the above.
Here is my response.
They are not free. Folks, these books all cost money. Publishers are kind enough to provide them to us free of charge. The purpose of these books is for PR, to get books purchased and onto shelves and into hands. If you school has $$$ for test prep, they need to use some of that $$$ for books, for libraries, for librarians. The research confirms that books and access to books can impact test scores and, more importantly, improve attitude toward books and reading. As for purchasing books out of your own pocket. I do. I always have. It is sad. But I also sought funding. I applied for and received grants from my state professional organizations, from ALAN, even from my university. With a small amount of $$$, I purchased books and audio and more.
If your students acted as you did by taking ore than 1 book or waiting until someone turned attention elsewhere so they could take everything, how would YOU react? I know how I would as a teacher. I hold myself to standards. I wish all educators would do the same.