Welcome to my blog. I see this as a place to reflect on my teaching practices and to share ideas and strategies with other teachers.

Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Class Library

My class library is a very important part of my classroom!  I have dedicated a lot of time and money to its establishment and use.

Where to Find Books

There are many places to find great books for a class library.  I bought most of my books at yard sales, thrift stores, and eBay.  You can also get books for a class library by sending letters requesting donations from parents or other community members.  If you are affiliated with a local college or church, you can ask that they sponsor a book drive in honor of your classroom.

Organizing and Labeling Books

My class library consists of 3 book shelves and about 55 plastic shoe boxes (without the lids).  The plastic boxes are labeled according to book series or topics.  Then, the boxes are also labeled with a colored dot sticker that has a number.  The numbers on my book boxes go in order (across the first row of the first book shelf, the boxes are labeled 1, 2, 3, 4).  This makes it easier for students to find particular boxes and to return books to the correct box.

In each box, the books with the same topic / series are placed together.  All of the books in that basket are given a colored dot sticker to match the one on the front of the box.  So, all of the books in box 1 have a yellow dot with the number 1.  You can see this in the pictures below.  This makes it easy to tell if books are in the right place.





When I first began organizing my books for the class library, I started by looking for multiple books with the same topic, same genre, same author, or from the same series.  Books that didn't comfortably fit into one of those categories I left in another pile.  Here are some of my book box categories:

  • Holiday / Seasonal Books
  • Science books
  • Social Studies books
  • poetry
  • Character Traits and Feelings
  • Animal books (nonfiction)
  • True stories
  • Machines and Tools (including cars, trucks, etc.)
  • Sports books
  • Fairy Tales
  • Historical Fiction
  • Mysteries
  • Sweet Valley Kids series
  • Authur series
  • Magic Schoolbus series
  • Junie B. Jones series
  • Horrible Harry series
  • Clifford series
  • Magic Tree House series
  • Franklin series
  • Little Bill series
  • The Littles series
  • Arnold Lobel books
  • Dinosaur Cove series
  • Franny K. Stein series
  • Joke / Riddle books
  • Babysitter's Club Little Sister series
  • Amelia Bedelia series
The books which were left over (did not fit into one of the categories I had defined) were then divided into groups according to whether they were picture books or chapter books.  

I then put them into plastic boxes labeled "Fiction Chapter Books" or "Fiction Picture Books" and labeled them with colored dots  just as I did the others.  In the future, I hope to level and organize these books into boxes depending upon guided reading level, so that students can have an easier time choosing books that are just right for them.  

Student Use of Class Library

At the beginning of the school year, after basic routines and procedures have been established, I introduce the class library.  We discuss rules for the class library and why we have those rules.  We role play how to select a book, how to return a book, how to treat books, and how to do the class job of librarian (returning books to the boxes after students have turned them in).  Finally, I let students select a book to take to their desk.

Every month, I change out the holiday/seasonal books to keep them interesting.

I check periodically to be sure that students have only one book.  I also check periodically to be sure that students are selecting books which are appropriate for them.  I don't do this very often.  It is usually only something I do if I notice a child with a book that does not seem like a good fit for them.  Here are our rules for the class library.


1 comment:

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