Thursday, August 2, 2012

i LOVE our classroom library!

I'm an avid picture book collector... okay, let's be honest. I'm obsessed with books. I think the most valuable way to spend time with a child is to read. I read-aloud at least 3 books a day to my class... often 5-6 a day. I *love* having the perfect book to teach a literature skill, or explain a science concept, or fit with a seasonal theme. 

Every primary teacher knows the FRUSTRATION of organizing classroom books. We want the books to be:
  • Organized
  • Accessible to the teacher
  • Accessible to students
  • Safe

It took me a couple years to get it just right, but now I LOVE our classroom library! Best of all, the kids LOVE it, too. My students know that books are highly valued in our classroom -- and they are always accessible to both myself and the students.

I started by sorting my books. I'm not gonna lie to you... this took a whole afternoon! I cleared off all my classroom tables and just started sorted. I had to adjust and re-sort many times. But, I ended up with 30-40 categories. 

The easiest ones to start with are seasonal (Spring, Summer, Fall, and Winter categories) and holidays (such as Halloween and Christmas). I then moved on to favorite authors and characters. I filled in with themes (such as bears) and subjects (such as social studies). I ended up with some "general" categories, too (such as animal non-fiction, animal fiction, and family and friends).

Now... the busy part! I collected several HUNDRED address labels (I bought mine on sale at OfficeMax) -- one for each book. Using Microsoft Word and Google Images, I created 1 label sheet for each category. I printed off at least one sheet of each category (several sheets for popular categories... such as animal fiction). Each book gets a label on the BACK COVER. 

Once all the books are labeled, pick containers that fit your books and fit on your shelves. I used "shoe box" size containers -- with no lids. I found them at Wal-Mart, in 12 packs for $6.00 (only 50 cents a piece!) Figure out which categories will fit into the boxes and place a corresponding label for each category on the front of the box.

BEST PARTS of this system:
  • The kids can find AND PUT AWAY books independently! 
  • I can always find the book I'm looking for.
Good luck!

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