I have a book problem. I buy them constantly - at the store, from Facebook groups, yard sales, you name it, if I see a good one, I’m buying it! I’ll take all the FREE ones I can get too! There is no shame in my game! I buy not just for my classroom, but for my own kids too. (You know where they end up anyways once they are done with them...wink, wink!) You can never have too many books? Right? Right? Riigghtt???
I started out in 5th grade, and didn’t have a whole lot of money to spend on books, so I did what I could. And you know what, they read them! And then the pages started falling out and covers got ripped and bent, and I was so upset. My precious books! And you know you can never tape a page back into the right spot once its fallen out! I fixed them, and moved on, all first-year teacher happy.
The next year I moved to 1st grade and packed away those older books, and started collecting more age appropriate ones. I remembered the problem I had the year before, and if 5th graders couldn’t take care of the books, then 1st graders couldn’t! So, there they sat, looking all shiny and glossy on the shelf. Sure, I’d let them borrow one every once and awhile, but never keep them long. I didn’t know any better.
A friend was our reading specialist, so her and an aide went through the books I had and leveled and sorted them for me. They sorted the books by genre, then leveled them using guided reading I think. Seeing them in boxes with cute labels I had made (pre-pinterest or TpT) made my teacher heart happy. I stuck with this system for all my 1st grade years. I even started leveling my kids using DRA (I think), and only letting them pick certain books.
Then we decided to move back to Michigan after 8 years of living in Florida. I took a job teaching 2nd grade, and after that year, I decided that system just wasn’t what I needed anymore. So, I sat down and figured out what I wanted it to look like and how it could be functional.
I had so many books, and no way to track them, so they “grew legs and walked out my door”, and I never knew who had touched it. My kids weren’t sticking to the levels on their cards, because they saw “better” books in the same genre tub, and didn’t “pay attention” to the level on it. These were my top problems, so how was I going to fix it? I started by packing up my books in boxes and bringing them home for the summer!
I hope that you will join me next time as I walk through my classroom library, and how I set it up! Until then, please share with me…..
Do you have a classroom library problem? Which problem do you have?
a) I have too many books and nowhere to put them.
b) I don’t know how to sort or label them.
c) How do I level them?
d) I don’t even know where to begin…..
Great adventure awaits you