Thursday, July 28, 2011

How do you set up your classroom library?

It's that time of year again, when you take all that you have read and learned over the summer and you are ready to apply to a fresh new school year. Every year we teachers try to improve from the previous year... Perhaps its discipline, or math strategies, or you want more hands on activities to reach those kinesthetic kiddos. Today, we will be discussing the classroom library.

It's great to utilize your school library but sometimes you just don't have the time to send everyone (our older elementary don't get an assigned library period after the first four weeks of school unfortunately), they don't have the books the kids wanted or because they are rushed the students don't choose quality books. When rushed with a 5 minute window, there is little time to choose quality interesting books. They usually grab the first book in their level and rush to check it out.

Thus the importance of a classroom library. Whether you are a kinder teacher or teaching in high school, reading will always be a part of our jobs. There is a 100% chance you will recieve at least one student who fell through the cracks, was moved around too much, or just didn't get the help they needed in time and they are coming to you lacking something that will devastatingly affect them in the future. Unfortunately with state standards and having so much on our plate already, it is a hard road but one we have dedicated our lives to paving for those generations below us.

One tool that can be used to reach our students is the classroom library. The following are some hints, tips, suggestions, activities etc... that you could use for your library!

Have a clear label with the reading level (and AR points if your school participates in this program)

You can have your library organized by reading level, author, title... just make sure your students understand how it is organized so they can utilize it quickly without frustration.

If you have your students participating in book clubs or reading workshops, you can have students discuss books that they have finished in front of the class so that other students may be exposed to books they may not have chosen on their own.

You could have a spotlight area for each genre, where you choose one book from each genre that the students can read and earn. You could possibly set up a tic tac toe board or some other incentive they can fill up as they finish the different genres.

Have specific times when students will be visiting the library. This way they will know what to expect and be ready to make clear choices. They could also have a list of books they are interested in when heading to the library.

Use card stock cut into wide strips as book placement holders. Have kids decorate the books with their names and pictures that represent them. When they check out a book from the class library, they will place their holder where the book belongs. This way, you can quickly see who has a book and the student can quickly see where to return it when done reading it.

Having a class job of librarian can help keep your library organized and cared for.

Have a bulletin near the library prepped for response cards from books that have been read. This could be another way to expose students to unfamiliar books as well as help lower readers see examples of how to review a book.

So, I know many of you seasons veteran heroes or fresh out of college superstars have some great ideas as well! Please leave a comment below and share! You just might inspire someone! :)

Check out this amazing blog for some great pictures of classroom libraries from actual classroom! ClutterFree Classroom Blog

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