Organizing a Classroom Library

Jun 7, 2008 by

 

Gather children’s literature. Some ways to get books for your classroom: through bonus points earned from book clubs, garage sales, thrift stores, used book sales at a local library, donations from students. Be sure to gather a good variety of books including various reading levels, fiction and nonfiction, picture books and chapter books, and a variety of genres.

Place a library pocket on the inside cover of each book. In each pocket put an index card labeled with the title of the book (typed on computer labels or handwritten).

Library Pocket

Categorize your books into groups. These are some of the the classifications I use:

  • fictional picture books
  • fictional chapter books
  • poetry
  • jokes and riddles
  • alphabet books
  • biography
  • sports
  • plants
  • animals
  • dinosaurs
  • weather/seasons
  • health/human body
  • geography
  • geology
  • space
  • ecology/environment
  • folk literature
  • holiday/seasonal
  • historical fiction
  • historical nonfiction
  • miscellaneous nonfiction 

I also pull out popular series books and put those in baskets of their own.

Designate a different colored sticker dot for each category and label each book with sticker dots.

Place each category into different plastic baskets or tubs.
Label the outside of the baskets with the name of the category and the colored sticker dot. Click here to download book basket labels from 3rd grade teacher Beth Newingham’s website.

Book Basket x
Arrange baskets or tubs on shelves within easy reach of students.
Bookshelves x
Make a sign-out chart.
Glue enough library pockets for each student in your class onto poster board. Label with student names or mailbox numbers. Laminate the chart and cut slits in each pocket.
Book Sign-Out Chart

Train students
to sign out books by placing the title index card in their individual pockets on the book sign-out chart after selecting a book. When returning books, students remove the index card from the chart, replace it in the book, and put the book in a collection basket.
Book Collection Basket

Choose class librarians. These students will be responsible for returning books to the correct baskets using the sticker dot labels on the books and baskets to help them.

For More Ideas on Organizing a Classroom Library:

Reading Essentials: The Specifics You Need to Teach Reading Well by Regie Routman, 2003. (See Chapter 5 “Organize an Outstanding Classroom Library”)

Guiding Readers and Writers (3-6): Teaching Comprehension, Genre and Content by Irene Fountas and Gay Su Pinell, Heinemann, 2000. (See Chapter 6 “Making It Work: Organizing and Managing Time, Space, and Resources”)

Your Classroom Library: New Ways to Give It More Teaching Power by D. Reutzel and P. Fawson, Scholastic, 2002.

Beth Newingham’s Third Grade: This link will take you to some wonderful suggestions for organizing your own library. Click on "Classroom Library" on the left side bar.


Are you short on shelf space in your classroom? 

You can install vinyl rain gutters to display your books.  See Rain Gutter Library Shelves for directions. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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