Last year I did not have a great library system. It wasn’t particularly organized, and I didn’t work hard at training the students to use it well. Overall I was dissatisfied with my classroom library organizational system. It quickly became clear that if my library isn’t organized it is not a useful resource for my students. Ergo – I am working hard to take full advantage of the classroom move to organize the library.
I asked on my FB page how you organize your classroom library and received some great comments! I tend to agonzie when making decisions of any kind and your feedback helped me make my decision!
My classroom library is going to be organized by theme/genre/topic. instead of organizing it by levles. Why you may ask…3 reasons.
1. I want my students to read good fit books. BUT I want them to be able to identify good fit books in a realistic setting.
I really liked what Candis from I Teach Dual Language had to say on the topic:2. As an avid reader since a young age, I never ever chose a book based on a level. I chose books based on my interests. While I do recognize the importance of students reading books that are at their level – I want their reading experience to be as authentic as possible. I hope train my students to first identify their interests and then how to find a book within that interest that is at their level.
"I recommend genre/thematic and maybe favorite authors similar to what they will find in a real library. While I do recommend small group instruction should be focused at students' instructional levels, I really believe that interest plus a little bit of guidance creates ability for self-selected reading. My students made much better gains in reading when they could find books they were interested in. Plus, as you add more books and books in both languages, it is much easier for students to understand and maintain your system by topics than by levels. Just my humble opinion of course! :)"
3. Properly leveling a library takes a LONG time! Like a REALLY LONG TIME!
So, here is how I am going through the process of organizing my classroom library.
First, I unpacked all of the books and did a general sort. I sorted the nonfiction books, and fiction. I’m definitely finding the fiction books to be a bit more problematic when sorting – not nearly as clear cut as say dinosaurs or the states of matter.
Here you can see my amazingly well sorted piles! I had a lot of fun tossing the books around the area. Debbie Diller would be proud!
This is the first step she employs in her Math Work Stations book – a general sort! But as you can tell my piles were not exactly…distinguishable from each other.
So I continued my general sort by then doing this:
*I found lots of lovely sites that shared their book bin labels. I printed the labels and cut the ones that fit my needs.
*I gathered my piles and made fancy piles on my empty desks. I started with the easy stuff – Arthur, Clifford, and the non-fiction piles.
I will now need to begin more thoroughly sorting through my fiction. I found some good book labels to give me ideas – books with animal characters, books about friendship, books about real life, books about human and animal relationships, etc.
So tomorrow I’ll continue the general sort by more thoroughly sorting my fiction.
After sorting Debbie Diller recommends purging. I’ve been doing this throughout the sorting, but I may identify more books that are purge worthy as I label the books and book bins.
Here are the sites I used for my first round of book bin labels. I believe I’ll eventually need to make my own but these helped me with this first round of sorting.
If you have any tips on classroom library organization or management I would love to hear from you! I’m always open to friendly advice!
Mrs. Castro Pin It