Get your classroom library ready for the upcoming school year with teacher-tested, student-approved tips from Really Good Teachers across the country. With ideas for leveling your books to creating an audio book section, these tricks will make the classroom library a much more enjoyable and engaging space in your room. Take a look at what other teachers are doing to make their libraries amazing reading spaces!
Creating a Great Classroom Library
Organize and Level
“When setting up your classroom, make sure that organizing your class library sits near the top of your list,” insisted Chris, a 3rd Grade Teacher, from Mountville, PA. Begin by leveling your books by determining the reading level for each one.”
“There are many ways to level books, for example you can try using Scholastic’s Book Wizard or refer to books by leveling experts Irene Fountas and Gay Sue Pinnell,” she offered. “Use matching stickers to flag books belonging to each level and to identify corresponding book bins. Sort your leveled books into bins and place bins on low bookcases so the students can easily access titles.”
“I wanted my students to be able to benefit from access to a listening library, but didn’t have very many books recorded on tapes or CDs. So I decided to create my own low-cost listening library,” explained Nichole, a 2nd Grade Teacher, from Noblesville, IN.
“Over the summer, I purchase blank cassette tapes or CDs—plus books from library and yard sales—and use them to record myself reading aloud. I then put each book, along with its companion recording, into a plastic bag and add it to my listening library,” Nichole said. “You can also let your students practice and then record their own stories for the listening center. Try sending books home for parents, older siblings, and grandparents to read and record as well. Kids love listening to the stories and guessing who the reader is for each one.”
Organize by Genre
“I use inquiry to help students understand book genres while also providing a method for organizing my classroom library,” explained Laura, a 4th Grade Teacher, in the APO Armed Forces. “Here’s how: I provide small groups of students with a short stack of books and a classification chart featuring book genre definitions. I have students work together to discuss and classify each book.”
“Once done,” she said, “I have another student group provide ‘quality control’ by deciding if they agree with the classification or if adjustments should be made. I then have students label, box or shelve the books in an organized fashion. Because my students are instrumental in establishing my book organizational system, they are more apt to take advantage of it and maintain it when locating, borrowing, and returning books in the months that follow.”
What are some of your best classroom library organization tips and tricks? Share them with us below or on the Really Good Teachers Forums!