09 June 2014

Classroom Library Remix

About 2 years ago, I posted about my classroom library. And then, almost immediately afterward, I decided to yet again change how my classroom library is organized. Best part? This time it actually stuck. I've been using the same system for my classroom library for the last two years, and don't plan on changing it anytime soon. Famous last words, right?

Anyway, I thought it's definitely time for an update on my classroom library!

This is a picture form 2 years ago using the organizational tips I'm sharing in this post. The bookcases on the floor are non-fiction, the bookcases on the shelf/table are fiction, and on top of the fiction are the books in a series and favorite authors. The random bins on the floor and next to book boxes are "books about math", "books about writing", "books of knowledge", "poetry, jokes, and riddles", pretty much just as random as where they're located.


First things first...anytime I get a new book for the library, I check to see what level it is. I use Fountas & Pinnell's Guided Reading Levels. They range from A-Z+ and is a pretty common measure for leveling. You can read more about Fountas & Pinnell's Guided Reading Levels here

In order to find a book's level, I use the Scholastic Book Wizard
You can search for Grade Level Equivalent, Guided Reading, DRA, or Lexile Level (great for whatever your school uses)! Select the system you want to use, then search by title or author (keyword is also available, but I rarely use it).

Once I have know a book's level, I write it on a little white dot, that goes on the cover of the book. I use Avery Round Labels (0.75 inch diameter). 

The next step is deciding where my book is going to "live" in the library. My classroom library is essentially divided into 3 sections: non-fiction, fiction, and books in a series. 

Non-fiction books fall into one of these categories:

- Insects, Reptiles & Amphibians
- Land Animals
- Plants
- Earth: Inside & Out
- World History & Other Cultures
- Outer Space
- Weather, Water, & Natural Disasters
- American History/USA
- The Human Body
- People in History
- Dinosaurs
- Life in the Water

The categories are pretty fluid, as my classroom library expands, new categories are made. I made the categories AFTER I leveled and sorted books. I then combined books that could go in a category together, and then actually put a name to the category.

Fiction books are simply organized by guided reading level. Super easy. For my second graders, I typically have books ranging in level from H-P, although, it also depends on the students in my class. I can put out lower or higher leveled books as needed. Certainly don't feel like you have to have books that span A-Z - it wouldn't make sense really...use your best judgement. You can find the labels I use here, or by clicking on the picture below.


The last category are Books in a Series and Favorite Authors. These categories will depend on your collection. The categories I have are:
- Magic Tree House
- Henry and Mudge
- Junie B. Jones
- A-Z Mysteries
- Pee Wee Scouts
- Mr. Putter and Tabby
- Cam Jansen
- The Boxcar Children
- Horrible Harry
- My Weird School/My Weirder School
- Marivin Redpost
- Patricia Polacco
- Kevin Henkes
- Beverly Cleary
- Tomie dePaola

The last step in the process, is to put a label on each sticker that tells the Class Librarian (and me!) where the book belongs. I use address labels that include the category the books belongs with, my name, and a smaller version of the picture that is on the book bin label. 

I only make labels like the one shown before for non-fiction, books in a series, and favorite author books. Fiction books only get a label with my name on them, because they just go in the book bin with their correlating guided reading level.

Here's an example of one of the labels:

These are from my classroom library 3 years ago! Unfortunately, my classroom library is completely covered for the summer, but when school starts back, I'll be sure to post pictures as part of my classroom tour for the 2014-2015 school year!

The last part of organizing a classroom library is decided what kinds of containers you want to use to actually hold your books. Right now, there's a random mess of containers in my classroom library! I have containers from Dollar Tree, Target, Wal-Mart, and who knows where else?!? However, I will be purchasing these beauties for next year and I can't wait! 

How do you organize your classroom library?



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