All journeys have a starting place.
This is a weekly place to find books and tools
that you may use with readers at the start of their reading journey.
Join in the conversation at #road2reading.
I am going to take a break from sharing books today, and instead talk about where we're putting our books - in classroom libraries!
As you know, on Thursdays, Alyson and I specifically concentrate on our younger readers, or even our readers who might be a bit older, but they are still working on their reading skills. We know the books we get in these readers' hands are crucial, which is why we share so many titles. While picture books and middle grade books are well shared on social media, sometimes these books, which may have a smaller audience, aren't shared as much. We're so grateful the Geisel Award exists to celebrate some of these exceptional books - it has helped bring these books into awareness in schools, libraries and bookstores all over!
However, how these books are displayed and organized in classroom libraries are just as important. It shows readers these books are important. You want them to catch their eye and be reached for.
While this post could get lengthy because there is so much to talk about - in fact if you want more information, I highly suggest you get a copy of It's All About the Books by Tammy Mulligan and Clare Landrigan! This post will concentrate on just a few details that you may want to think about as you begin putting your library away, and then focus on as you set up at the start of the next school year. When writing this post, I was mostly thinking about kindergarten-second grade classrooms, however the ideas in it can easily be adapted up or down.
* Take a look at the books you have, and think about the readers who may be in your classroom at any given year. Do you have books that represent all of your readers? How many picture books do you have? Now think about how many early readers...early chapter books...transitional chapter books do you have? Where are your holes? What do you need more of?
* Do your readers know how to find books to read without knowing their level? Students should not know what level they are. Books should not be labeled on the outside covers with a level. However, we can be strategic in where/how we place books. By gathering books into bins that are similar in style/length, we are giving students a clue where they might find books that are similar.
While there are no labeled levels on these baskets or shelves,
it's clear they are for students who read at different levels.
By grouping similar books together, readers can shift through
the books and find what they need.
There is a natural progression in the shelving in my library.
You'll notice here the top shelves are transitional chapter books
and they start to progress to some longer texts as you move down.
The bottom shelf (that is not visible in the photo) has even
longer middle grade books.
Here's another look at that progression.
You'll also see that I have a lot of series.
They are not in bins because I have limited
shelf space. I had to remove some bins this
past year in order to get more books on the shelf.
* I love asking students what their favorite book is. Or what they like to play. Or what they watch on TV. It's a really fast glimpse into what they might like to read. Can students find a genre of books they like to read in your library? And a book that is a good fit for them (still without a posted level on the book or child...)? Again, how can you take the guessing out for a child where they will find a just right book.
Take a look at the middle shelf - animal books that have a wide range
of series in different levels.
* what are some ways you can put books together. Think beyond just series. Because my classroom library is visited by a wide range of students, I choose to separate it by genre. It is helpful for students when they come in and think about what they are in the mood for!
* For young readers, I try and find groups of books that grab their attention quickly. Books that make it fun for them to read. Two baskets that are always popular are wordless picture books and interactive books!
It's hard to believe that many of us are in the process of putting away our classroom libraries! I hope some of these ideas will help you think of new ways to organize your library.
Do you work with readers who are starting their journey on the road to reading? Join Alyson Beecher from Kid Lit Frenzy and me every Thursday as we explore books and ideas to help readers have a successful start to independent picture book and chapter book reading. If you blog or have a Goodreads page, please link up with us!