Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Classroom Library and Book Buying Addiction

Let me start by saying I love books. My mom always read to me when I was younger and I understood from an early age that books were an important part of learning. That being said I have an addiction to buying books. I do stay away from brand new books and stick to the thrift shops and yard sales.

We had a staff development a few weeks ago about the amount of books we should have in our rooms. It is suggested that you have at least twenty books per students in your classroom.  Since I have twenty-one students that would mean I should have over four hundred books. Ha. I have fifty-four baskets in just my classroom library. That does not include leveled baskets or our partner reading library. How crazy exciting is that? I can't help it. When I go to a store and find a book that makes me think of one of my readers I HAVE TO BUY IT!

My classroom library is organized by genre. I have many different colored baskets but they don't have any real significance.

Click the picture above to go to Beth Newingham's website to get a copy of the genre labels for yourself.

I added some of my own baskets in addition to the ones that she features on her website. Click below to get a copy now.

You can see I love books!

A little about how I organize my books. I mentioned by genre which is huge. On the outside label of each basket there is a sticker with a code on it. Every book in that basket has a matching sticker with code in the front cover. I started that this year and it has made a world of difference. The kids are very responsible about putting the books in the appropriate place.

I had a chance to work with a literacy consultant from the state of Georgia earlier in the year specifically about independent reading and the classroom library. She went through my baskets and helped me realize that I had a great variety but I needed to be sure to include a wide variety of lower leveled books. At our school we use the DRA leveling system. What I found was that I had a great amount of lower leveled books in my leveled library but was not including them as much in my classroom library. Well I went through my leveled baskets and now have DRA levels all the way down to Level 6 in my classroom library. 

As far as the leveling within the library I don't believe that every book has to be leveled. I want to train the kids on how to gauge if a book is just right for them without being told a color or letter to choose. I do have a summer plan to color code outside spines of books by level but not tell the students what the stickers mean. Then, I can spot check books during reading conferences and in book bins to see if students are near the appropriate range. This will be a HUGE project because I have so many books. Encouragement is appreciated. :)

I'll leave you with a few of my kiddos relaxing in the library.

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