Creating a Classroom Library  

On this page I will share how I organized my classroom library.  There is no right or wrong way to organize your library and these ideas are simply how I choose to organize mine.

I would also like this website to be  a photo collection of classroom libraries from all over.  If you would like you classroom library photos posted and shared here, please email me!

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Here is a picture of my fourth grade library in progress.  I am still organizing after my move and trying to create a database (we will see if that happens!).

  

Below is a picture of my second grade library in progress.  It is amazing how it transforms!!

Acquiring Books and Materials

Planning and Organizing

Cataloguing Your Books

Getting Started

Books and Labels

Creating A "Cozy" Library

Links and Resources

Visitor Library Pictures

"Special" Books

Opening the Classroom Library At the Beginning of the School Year

Acquiring Books and Materials

   Over the last five years I have managed to amass a pretty big classroom library.  I have found books in all kinds of unlikely places.  I have bought several books new (much to the chagrin of my husband!), but here are some other great places to get cheap books:

Goodwill- I have bought several books at our local Goodwill.  It is a mixed bag.  Some trips are better than others, but when most books are 25 to 50 cents you can't beat it!  Last time I went a few weeks ago they had the hard back books for $1.00.  However, many of them were Dr. Seuss classics my kids will LOVE!

Garage Sales- This is probably one of my most favorite ways to get books!  I have bought many, many books at garage sales.  generally, if you mention you are a teacher people will give you a discounted rate.  Last summer when I was collecting things for my literature bags, I  hit all the garage sales like crazy.  I bought all of the things below for about $25.

 

EBay- Most people know about Ebay.   I will give one tip though.  Last summer I cleaned out several of my teacher resource books I never used.  I sold them on EBay and then "saved" the money in my Pay Pal account.  Whenever I wanted to buy new books I simply used money from this account and didn't have to "pay" anything!

Book Closeouts-  My husband bought a few books off this website for Christmas this year.  The boos were very nice hardbacks and were VERY cheap.  Even combine with the cost of shipping it was STILL cheaper than Amazon or Barnes and Nobles.

Scholastic- I send home book orders with my students once a month.  To be honest, most students do not buy very much.  Usually I have one child that buys a good bit each month.  I save my points and then bought the 100 books for 1,000 points (I think).  I gave these as gifts to my kids at the end of the school year, but  I was pleasantly surprised at the quality and assortment of books.  They were not the "bottom of the barrel" books like I expected.  They were nice!

Library Book Sales- At my local library there is always several rolling carts of used books people have donated for the library to sell.  The library sells them for 50 cents for a paperbacks and hardbacks for a dollar.  Also, once a year there is a HUGE used book sale at a mall in downtown Atlanta. Prices are the same as above .  I can't remember who sponsors it; either a women's organization or library.  Check you newspaper for these kinds of events.

Highlights Magazine-  Highlights offers a school program for teachers to receive free materials.  Teachers send home forms asking if parents would like to subscribe to Highlights magazines.  Parents return the forms.  If DOES NOT matter if a parent marks yes or no, just if the form is return and signed. The teacher then returns all the forms and selects from a catalogue of free gifts.  The number of forms returned determines what the teacher is able to order.  A subscription to Highlights is one of the options!

Soliciting Donations-  This year during Open House on my wish list I am going to ask for a subscription to Sports Illustrated for Kids.  I have no idea if I will get it, but it can't hurt to ask!

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Planning and Organizing

    One of the most difficult things to figure out is HOW to sort all of your books.  Many people sort by genres, topic or theme, AR levels, guided reading levels and so on. 

    In my classroom I have chosen to sort by books by topic and author.  I have done this for several reasons.  Part of this was because it was easier.  Leveling all my books would take forever, and I do not want to spend all of my time on it.  Also, I do not want children picking out by books by levels.  I want the students making the decision if the book is just right.  When students walk into a book store there will not be a large sign that states, "Guided Reading Level O books here."  Students have to be prepared to make good reading choices and know how to browse.  Restricting sections of the library by leveling hinders this.  I know some people will disagree with me here, but I am not also a big fan of AR so I do not choose to sort by AR levels.  All these beliefs led me to sort by genre, topic and author.

     I am also a big fan of keeping books in books bins.  Students tend to check out books by looking at book covers.  Students are not as likely to pull books by looking at the book binding only.  I know when I go to the bookstore, the books that catch my eye most often are the ones whose covers are facing out.  Bookstores have cashed in on this, and so will I!  Book bins also keep the books organized and neat looking, an added bonus!

Here is a close up of my book bins( or book baskets):

 

Below is a close up of the book baskets I am using in second grade.  Same basket, different label.

 

When planning your library there are many things to think about.  I am treating this as a "FAQ" of classroom libraries and will add my comments below.

  

Where will your library be?

I like to have my library surrounding my class meeting area.  I do this for several reasons: It capitalizes on pace because I do not have room for both!  Also, many of my mini lessons that take place in the meeting area require students to brainstorm.  The books give them places to "look."  Also, I once read somewhere that your room should not contain a library within a classroom, but a classroom within a library (I can't remember who said this, but it sounds very Caulkins-ish).

How much space will you have? 

I pretty much designate a large portion of my classroom to my library. I want children to physically SEE how important it is, simply by its size.  Also, the more I have collected books (it is an obsession, sigh!) the more room I need!  Also, since it is my meeting area, it needs to be large enough for all students to sit comfortably and be able to see the easel.  I try to place the classroom library in an area of the room which will create a comfortable nook, but also place the easel so that student's backs will be toward to entrance door of the classroom to minimize distractions.

Do you have enough shelf space?

I used four metal shelves that the school district provided.  Well, they only provided one for me, but I collected the others whenever any teacher was discarding any of their shelves!  I used every bit of the space.  This year I didn't really have a good spot for them.  They area an awkward height and I wanted them to go under the large bulletin board in my room.  My co-teacher was getting rid of a large white shelf that was very long.  I then had my Dad (he is the best) come in and make another shelf with very similar dimensions. I painted both shelves a baby blue to make them match.  Even with all this shelf space I STILL don't have enough room- I should have planned a little better! Some of my book bins will go in the floor and some will go on the book cart that will be next to the library.  I will post pictures here soon!

How will you sort your books?

Some of my books will be leveled, although this will be a small portion of my library.  I had not done this in years past, but I have recently been reading Growing Readers by Kathy Collins (great book!) and she suggests have a part of the library labeled. I felt that I could do this and have decided to level  my  collection of the "Step Up" readers.  These are the short books, like the Hello Readers  or Scholastic Readers.  I went to the Titlewave website.  You do have to join this site, but my librarian signed me up pretty easily.  I am not sure if you can join it yourself.  It has leveling information as well as a TON of other stuff.  I then wrote the level (in grade, not Fountas and Pinnell or Accelerated Reader- I wanted it to be a straight forward as possible) on the inside back corner on the bottom right.  I have done all this, but I have to yet sorted them. I will soon sort them into similar levels and then will color code them.  I will post pictures when I figure this all out!

Books are also sorted into similar genres of series.  I wanted students to be able to say, "I love to read about animals!" and then have an entire basket devoted solely to animals on a variety of different reading levels.  This way, most any reader could find a book.  Click here to read more about the categories of my book baskets.

Read below in the Getting Started section for more ideas on how to sort.

Will your books be labeled?

Yes, I label my books so that students can return them.  In years past I have used colored dots, colored dots with numbers and so on.  This worked pretty well with the upper grades, however, I was worried it would be too complicated for my second graders.  I have decided to created label  using Avery stickers that are address sized.  Each label has the book bin category, a picture and the phrase "This book belongs to Ms. Gregory."  Also, I tried to color code the font, so that Sports books label is written in orange Comic Sans font.  Then label also has orange font, but is backed on orange construction paper.  I am hoping this will help their eyes to focus a little bit more, even if it is subconscious! Students will then match the label on the book to an identical (minus the Mrs. Gregory part) label on the outside of the basket.

Will you write your name on the books?  Where?  The spine?  Cover?

I used to write my name in the top right corner of the cover in black permanent ink.  This help separate the books from any books the students brought from their home collections. I also hoped if a mom found a stash under a student's bed, she would know where to return them!! Now, I have my name directly on the label on the front cover.  I also bought a free stamp (bought a free stamp...hmmm...?) from Vista Print.  All I paid for was shipping. It states, "This book belongs to Mrs. Gregory.  Please return if found."  I stopped writing my name because this summer I was trying to EBay a good bit of my upper grades "stuff" off. I realized having my name written all over the cover decreases the value, but I want my name on the book SOMEWHERE.  So now I have the smaller stamp on the inside and the label on the cover (which I can peel off if I decide to sell the book- or replace if a kid peels the label off!).

How will the students know how to return the books?

I am hoping (crossing my fingers here) that the kids can match the label on the front to the identical label on the cover.  If it doesn't work, I will come up with something new!!

Will students return the books to the correct spot or will you make this a class job (like a class librarian)?

I am debating this.  I really want all kids to take ownership and responsibility for the classroom, but I also want kids to put the books back where they belong.  I think in the beginning of the year I will have a basket for books to be returned to (an I need a home basket) and train kids on how to return the books.  Then I will gradually phase this job out when most if not all the kids have been trained.

How will you teach children to treat and handle the books?

In Collin's book she states how in the beginning of the year she makes a BIG deal of a book in the floor, very melodramatic about it, "Oh no!  A book is in the floor! how could we treat something so wonderful so poorly!  How can I solve this problem?"  I like this because it is basically a great think aloud and model of what you should do if you find a book that is out of place.

Whenever I do read aloud I also model how to treat a book: using a bookmark instead of dog earring pages, how to slip off the dust cover while you read a book to keep it from getting wrinkled and how to carefully replace the dust cover when you are ready to stop reading, how to turn pages carefully so they don't tear and so on.  I think this is really powerful, because the kids SEE it.

Ms. Powell also has ideas of how to teach kids how to handle books.

What will a consequence be for mistreatment of books?

In years past if the library was messy, my consequence was to close it for a day or two.  Believe it or not, this actually worked!!  I really talked it up and was pretty melodramatic about it, but kids were not able to get new books or return old ones.  For DEAR time, they simply had to read what they had, that could be an old book or the reading textbook.  The kids did NOT like not having choices and the problem was solved.  You could also do this on an individual basis.  Simple and logical.  If you can't treat it right, you can't use.

How will books be stored?

I bought SEVERAL baskets from the Dollar store.  I prefer Dollar General because they have the big, white mesh baskets I like.  I like this size because it can hold several books, chapter or picture.  It is just a personal preference. I also like the smaller cube size boxes for series chapter books.  They seem to fit perfectly!

How will students check out books?

In the past I have just had students sign books out in on a check out list. I kept the list in a binder.  I trusted students to take responsibility for the books and return them.  I did lose a few, but only a few.  I am not sure how I am going to do this in second.  I may not have any check out system because students will only keep books in their book bins and will not take them home.  I am still thinking this over.

Lisa Riley, a site visitor, shared this great idea for checking out books: "I take wooden clothes pins and write each child's name on their clothes pin. The clothes pins are all clipped on ribbon that is in my library. When students go to the library they take their pin/clip and when they are looking for a book they choose a bin and clip their pin onto the bin where they removed the book from. They can then take the book any where they choose, but when they are finished they find the bin that has their clip, return the book and take their clip. They are then ready to choose a new book or return the pin to the ribbon. You can also buy colored plastic clothes pins if you want to color code them so the students can find their clips easier. I use the wooden ones and use different colored Sharpies to write their names. A couple of cautions - encourage them not to play with them too much, this year's students broke several, last year the students only broke 2. Also, really demonstrate how to use them before you let them go free."

I loved this idea and thought it was simple and wasy for the KIDS to maintain.

Hope that helps!

 

What will your book checkout policy be?

COMING SOON!

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Cataloguing Your Books

I just discovered the website, http://www.librarything.com/ , thanks to Mrs. Meacham's awesome website.  She posted on her summer to do list that she would be using this website to catalogue her books.  I was curious and decided to check into it.  It is really, really cool!!!  It is a FREE service and is simple to use. 

All you do is type your title in (or author) and it searches Amazon.com or the Library of Congress.  Boom!  Your title and a picture pops up!  The best part is you can add "tags"   or notes.  I have added tags that I own two copies, or this would be a great math book.  I will go back and add a tag noting which book basket the book goes in.

Click here to see the beginnings of my book catalogue.

Through an email a visitor let me know of another website to catalogue your books collection.  This one, however, it free!  It is similar to LibraryThing, but is free!   The website is www.shelfari.com

Check it out!

 

Getting Started

1. Labeling

When you are first thinking about organizing your classroom library, I would HIGHLY suggest writing your name on the cover of EVER book.  You might also want to write it on the side of the book across the pages.  Then parents will be able to easily spot the book as one of mine!  I recently purchase a stamp that states "This book belongs to Ms. Mandy Gregory.  If found please return to owner."  I got it free from Vista Print or iPrint.  I can't remember.  All I paid for was shipping.  Make sure to read all the fine print because Vista Print WILL sign you up for some recurring fee/ program if you don't pay attention to what you are clicking on.  I didn't pay attention and got burned, but it was my own fault.  I felt the iPrint stamp was a higher quality and would have actually purchased it.

2. Sorting Books

When I first started my classroom library, I did not have any preconceived categories that I wanted to use. Instead, I sorted like books together and naturally created categories.  This way I was able to combine categories when I only had a few of one genre.  For example, I combined all my joke books and my poetry books into one basket.  I only had a few each and they seemed to go well together.  This also helped me realize when I had several books from one specific author or book series.  I collected all of these books and put them in a basket devoted to author or series.

Involving Students in Book Sorting

Another way to sort the library is to have kids involved in decided categories.  This could be a great way to  engage students in the library, give ownership of the library to students and  let kids know what is available.  Frank Serafini highly recommend this method in his book,  The Reading Workshop: Creating Space for Readers (great, easy read).  I tried this last year with my students.  Serafini suggests boxing up the entire library and then sorting a box or two at a time over several days so it is less overwhelming and time consuming.  I thought this was a great idea, but i was too lazy to box up all my books.  Instead I choose all of my nonfiction books that I was struggling to organize.  I divided the books up so each table has several of the nonfiction books from the library.  Students looked through the books for a few minutes, then we rotated book stacks to another table.  We continued doing this until all students had seen the books.  Then I gathered all of the books and laid them on the floor.  Students created a GREAT BIG circle around the books.  Then I asked students to suggest book categories.  I listed these on a white board and we decided if we could combine or separate any categories.  The next day, I created book baskets with labels. I again passed out the books to different tables.  Then the table decided what category the books went into and sorted the books.  It worked, but I guess I am really anal and too lazy to redo the work!  So sad!  I have thought about doing the same system again with all of my NEW books I have bought over the summer, instead of ALL my books.

3.  How Will Students Know Where to Return the Books?

Some schools of thought believe that if students are involved in sorting the books, they will be able to return the books to the correct baskets.  They created the categories of the baskets; therefore they will be able to maintain the library. While I do not disagree with this idea, I am just too particular about my books to follow it!

This is how I organize and label my books:

On each book basket label there is a colored dot sticker (think garage sale stickers) and a number.  Each book that belongs in the basket/ category has the matching color sticker and  number.  Because I have too many baskets and categories, there might be TWO or THREE baskets with blue dots, BUT they have different numbers on them.  Then the baskets are then arranged in number order.  There is really not too much of a method of the ordering, except that I tried to keep together all my fiction separate from my non fiction. 

Here is a close up of a book box. You can see the label on the box with a title and a blue sticker.  This is box number 6.  On the Geronimo Stilton book you will see a matching sticker.

On the gray shelf on the left I have most of my nonfiction books divided into categories.  On the shelf on the left by the trunk I have many of my picture books.

On the shelves on the right I have most of my chapter books.  However, I didn't think as far ahead a s I should have and I do have some nonfiction books (fairy tales, poetry and jokes, etc) mixed in as well.  Since my baskets are numbered, it was too much work to change it!

Since I have moved to second grade I wanted my system to be less complicated.  I wanted the younger kids to be able to maintain the organization of the library on their own, and thought the numbers and colors might be too much. I also had collected MANY new picture books and lower readers for the new grade level.  I decided to make my organization as easy as possible.

I created individual books labels using Avery address label.  Each label has a picture, the title of the book basket AND a note saying the book belongs to me!  I also stamped the inside just in case.  Then I created a matching label for the basket on a larger shipping label. Since the titles of the baskets are all different colors, I mounted the basket label on matching construction paper, laminated it and attached it to the bin.  It was VERY simple, but slightly time consuming because I did have to touch all of my books.

Note that the title of the basket (Ms. Gregory's Favorites) is mounted on black construction paper to match the black color of the title.  Other baskets have red font, blue font and so on.

Here is a picture of the book with the matching sticker in the top right corner.  It has the same title and clip art.

4. How to Keep Track of Students Checking Books Out

coming soon!

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Books and Labels

I have many, many categories of books.   I will try my best to list how I have decided to divide my books.  Remember- this is what works for me!  Have fun and consider your own collection.

Nature and Weather Reptiles Animals
Cars and transportation Science William Steig
Fairy Tales and legends Biographies and Autobiographies Patricia Polocco
Class Mde Books Social Studies and History Avi
Harry Potter Jokes and Poetry Picture Books by Authors Whose Last Names Begin with A-I
Chapter Books by Authors Whose Last Names Begin with m-z Horses Quick Reads
Goosebumps Bailey School Kids Magic Tree House
Junie B Jones Time Warp Trio Judy Blume
Babysitters Club/ Little Sister Series Boxcar Children  Beverly Cleary
Chapter Books by Authors Whose Last Names Begin with A-L Caldecott Awards and Honors Sports
Mysteries Favorite Characters Newbery Award and Honors
Chris Van Allsburg Picture Books by Authors Whose Last Names Begin with J-M  

Here are the Labels That I Created:

  Please note that all of these are PDF files because I used the cute font Cool Dots to create the labels.

Book Bin Labels

Book Bin Labels 1

Book Bin Labels 2

Book Bin Labels 3

Since I have changed how I organize my classroom library, I have also changed my book labels and book bin labels.  I printed the book  labels for each individual book on Avery Mailing Labels 8160( 1" X 2"5/8') and the book basket labels are on Avery 5163 (2" X4") labels.

Here are the book labels on Avery Mailing Labels 8160( 1" X 2"5/8').  Click on any phrase to pull up the labels.

 

Here are the book basket labels on Avery 5163 (2" X4") labels.  Click on the sheet to pull up the labels.

Sheet One

 

Fairy Tales and Folk Tales

Cartoon Characters

Caldecott Winners and Nominees

Ocean Creatures

Chapter books

Multiple Copies

Henry and Mudge

Black Lagoon

Junie B. Jones

Bailey School Kids

 

Sheet Two

 

Super heroes

Insects and Bugs

Mrs. Gregory's Favorites

William Steig

Reptiles

Magic School Bus

Jokes and Poetry

Natures and Weather

Magic Tree House

Chris Van Allsburg

 

Sheet Three

 

Transportation

Patricia Polacco

Alphabet Books

Sports

Animals

Arthur Chapter books

Dinosaurs

Horrible Harry

Amelia Bedelia

Dr. Seuss

 

Other Labels

Over time, I have created more labels and even labels for colleges that are not listed above.  I will attach them below.

Beverly Cleary  
Famous African Americans  
Franklin Series  
Math and Numbers  

Spanish Labels

Cheryl Beeker was so kind to translate and share the labels in Spanish.  Click below to download these labels.

Sheet One (as listed above)  
Sheet two (as listed above)  
Sheet three (as listed above)   

Links to Other Labels

GREAT printable labels from Cherry Carl

Printable labels from Our School Family

Author Basket printable labels form Our School Family

printable labels from ABCteach

Kindergarten Labels from Mrs. Mikesell

 

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Creating A "Cozy" Library

Here is the most current picture of my classroom library area.  To make is cozy I have added posters from the mini lessons we have had in class, trunk covered in pillows, a yellow school bus rug (not in picture), a lamp (not pictured) and lots and lots of inviting books that are clearly organized.

 

 

Here is a current picture of my library.  I have combined my library and my meeting area. you can see the bright cheery carpet, lamp and TONS AND TONS of books!

 

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Links and Resources

http://hill.troy.k12.mi.us/staff/bnewingham/myweb3/library.htm

Excellent explanation of how this teacher organizes her library.  Lots of pictures!!!

http://content.scholastic.com/browse/article.jsp?id=4455

http://www.kimskorner4teachertalk.com/readingliterature/classroomlibrary.html

http://teachersmentor.com/readingk3/class_library.html

http://clerccenter.gallaudet.edu/literacy/resources/tipsforbuilding.html

http://mspowell.com/literacy/classlibraries.html

http://www.maiolo.org/2nd_Grade/Read_to_Self.html

 

 

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Visitor Library Pictures

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Ashley, a Fourth grade teacher from Florida wrote, "Hi. I just discovered your wonderful website! I thought I would share my classroom library pictures with you. Please feel free to post on your website. It is still a work in progress, but it "looks" finished. :) I have my baskets arranged according mainly to genre, but I do have some "topic" baskets for nonfiction and "favorite author" baskets."

Oh my goodness, Ashley!  If this is a work in progress, I can't wait to see the end product!  Your library looks amazing.  Inviting and organized!  I love it!  Thanks for sharing!

      

 

Thea , a third grade teacher wrote, "Here are some pictures of my classroom library. I teach third grade and my theme this year is "monkeys" (as you can see from my unfinished BB). The monkey labels have not been filled in yet...still not sure if I want to print a label to attach or handwrite the genres." 

          

I love the money theme!  It is so cute!  And- I never though the attach the book labels with rings!  What a great idea!  It looks great, Thea!

Sarah Watson was so kind to send in her pictures of her classroom library. 

           

She wrote,

"... I'm trying to figure out how to convert my middle school library to an elementary one! I'm moving schools and grade levels, so I have my work cut out for me. I don't use bins/baskets now, but I think I'm going to invest in them. I have a great checkout system that works for upper grades/middle level. The pictures I've provided are from the past two years. The brown shelves were traded in this year for the white ones I purchased from IKEA. My library is my pride and joy and I build my classroom around it! "

She also shared her checkout system, which had been very successful.  She said,

" My checkout system works well for middle school. I have 150+ students, so I've found this is the best way to keep track of my books. I rarely lose any and if I do, the kids are responsible for replacing them or paying for them. I also charge for damage, which keeps the books in good shape (I rarely have to charge because they take good care of them).
 
I have an Excel file with all the book titles, copy number, and the first two letters of the author's last name. I like this because if a student asks if I have a certain book, I can open the document and look. If a student like a particular author, I sort it by author's last name and they can see all the books I have available. They are shelved by genre, then author.
 
Last summer, a friend helped me mail merge my spreadsheet into a document that printed onto Avery Labels. I took the labels and put them on 5x8 lined index cards. The cards were then put into 5 different index card holders with poly letter dividers. I labeled the outside: A-E, F-K,L-O, P-S, T-Z. I also have a check out box that has all the letters in it. When a student wants a book, they find the card that belongs to that copy of the book and they write their name, hour, and date checked out. They put it in the checked out box. When they want to return it, they write the date they are checking it in and bring the card and book to
me. I initial the card and put  in at my desk. They put the book in the return bin. This allows me to confirm they've returned the book and it is in the same condition it was when they took it. The cards and books are then put away by class librarians.
 
I had a couple of different check out systems and by far this is the best and easiest way. I wouldn't use it in elementary though, that's why  I'm changing it for next year. The reason it works so well is because of the large amount of students and the length of time they have a book. In elementary, I plan on having a card for each child instead of each book, since my class size will be around 25. When they want to check out a book, they write the title and date and file it in the box under their last name. If they just want to look at the book for the day, I'll have a clip for book looking that they can put their card in. If they decide to check it out, they can fill it out at the end of workshop. I'm hoping this works.
 
I love my library and love watching it grow. I started with about 100 books my first year and at the end of my third year, I now have over2,000! Next year, I plan to add at least another 500. I'm happy to say that I have very little of my money invested. I take full advantage of Scholastic points and my students/parents like to donate to the cause.

 

"Special" Books

I do not put all books into the classroom library.  I do keep a special "stash" of books that I either use for specific lessons or units. I want these books to be new to children so I like to hold onto them so the children get excited.

This past year I stored these books in an empty file cabinet drawer.  I organized them into like topics and *tried* to keep them in seasonal order.  For example, my back to school books were in the very front.  This year I am not sure if I will have an extra file cabinet drawer available so I will have to think on this one!  I do know that I want to put labels on these books to help keep myself organized and remind students NOT to put these books in their book boxes.

I generally display these books either in a tub at the front of the room or on the ledge on the white board.  I ask students NOT to keep these books in their book boxes.  Generally these books are VERY popular and I want to make sure all children have access to them and not stay "hidden" in one child's box.  Students can read them at any time, but they must return them to the box or ledge as soon as reading time is over.  Most the kids are really good about this, but if they want to finish them I will give the kids a post it to mark where they stopped so they can pick it up again in the correct spot. 

Opening the Classroom Library

I really want my students to be able to use my classroom library appropriately, find the books materials they want and most importantly, ENJOY it.  IN order to do this, I DO NOT have my library open at the beginning of the year.  At this point, I feel students need to be trained and I do want to start any "bad habits" that will need to be unlearned.  However, I still want my kids reading.  Alot.  Especially in the beginning of the year.

To reach a compromise, where students are reading but not destroying my carefully collected and maintained classroom library, I compromise. Each group of student desks has a large basket of books.  I try to make sure the basket of books have a wide variety of levels, interests and topics.  Each day, I then rotate the baskets so students have afresh basket of books to devour. This is doing two things, showing students what exactly is available in the library but also buying me time to cover some of the other essential things that pop up in the beginning of the school year (like how to walk in the hall, get your lunch and go home- not necessarily in that order!).

Then on Friday (I try to keep four table groups so by this time students have seen all the books) I open the classroom library.  I read the story Wild About Books, which is ADORABLE on how animals treat books and get excited and then start writing themselves.  Then I read aloud the book Madame Li"Bear"ian  (may take awhile to load) from Cherry Carl's website.  Then I give each student a page of the coloring book (the book is ten pages so I actually will have TWO copies of the book when completed).  The kids color in the pages as I call over table groups to help them select just right books.  When students finish they can read from their new books.  When all the kids are done I pick up the pages and bind it as our first class book.

 

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