Saturday, February 4, 2012

Organizing and Managing Your Classroom Library

There are a zillion different ways to organize and manage your classroom library.  The most important thing is making it accessible and inviting to students.  I try to provide a wide variety of reading levels, topics, genres, and authors so there is something for everyone.  I buy paperbacks for my class library, but always reinforce the binding by stapling with a heavy-duty stapler, and then putting book tape on the spine, extending part way onto the front and back covers.  I then write, inside the back cover, the reading level, quiz number, and point value.  (We use AR at my school.)  I add a label to the front of the book or inside the front cover that says, "This book belongs to Mrs. Lindley".  I arrange my books by reading level.  My third graders are still learning how to choose books that they can both read and enjoy, so I am always encouraging them to read books "on their level".  Our school media specialist has a system she uses in the media center with color-coded dots on the spine of the book indicating AR reading levels.  She has been willing to give teachers the color-coded dot labels for their own class libraries, so my color system matches the media center. I have colored bins matching the colored dots.  The books are placed in the bins, covers facing forward.  So when a child needs a new reading book, s/he goes to the colored bin that matches reading level and flips through the books.  My kids are allowed to have two books from the class library at any given time.  I don't use an actual check-out system, but many teachers do.  I give each child a large ziplock baggie.  The rule is, if you put a book from the class library in your desk, it has to be in the baggie.  No books from the class library are allowed in desks without the protection of a baggie.  I have two classroom helpers whose job is to check at the end of each day and make sure the books in the class library are in order.  My system is simple, but it has worked very well  My class library is very popular with my kids.  One of the things I love about third grade is watching kids turn into readers.  During the year, many of them discover chapter books, and are thrilled when they find they can read it from cover to cover and love it.  Please leave comments sharing tips and ideas about managing your classroom library!