Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Organizing a Classroom Library

I have finally organized my classroom library! After attending multiple Donalyn Miller workshops, I have rediscovered the importance of having a well established classroom library.  She is a phenomenal speaker who will truly inspire anyone listening!  I highly suggest her workshops/books, Book Whisper and Reading in the Wild.
Genre Posters (Beth Newingham) - Library Labels
I am completely on-board with Donalyn's philosophy for organizing a classroom library by genre.  If we are organizing the books by lexile level and/or F&P level we are enabling our students (however, I do agree it is really easy as a teacher to help a kid find a book quickly).  Books in the real world are not labeled, therefore, we need to teach our students how to find books that are just right for them using realistic means.  I must say I am a big fan of the five finger test, you can do it anywhere! :)  Another benefit of organizing your classroom library by genre is to help students broaden their reading experiences.  Last year, I had multiple students who disliked reading until I gave them the Genre Challenge - reading 2 books in each genre in one semester.  Through being forced to explore every genre, students discovered genres that they loved, but had never read before.  As a teacher, it is always an overwhelming feeling of joy when you can help a student not only appreciate reading, but start to enjoy reading!

An easy way to keep your classroom library organized is by buying the round coding labels, which can be found at any local Staples, Wal-Mart, Target, etc...example here!  I bought 10 different colors so I could label them by the major genres (look above at Beth Newingham Posters).  Students can see at a glance where to put the book back instead of trying to read each bin label to find the correct home.
 If you like my library labels, you can find them here!  Here are some tips when getting them ready!  I am a big fan of efficiency! As a result, I added the cutting lines to my library labels.  This helps guide your cutting, so you can quickly and neatly cut out each of the labels.  I used to be big into scrap booking, so of course I have a Fiskars cutter!  I must say, as a teacher, I use it just as much more! :)
Portable Paper Cutter - Corner Punch
Another fantastic scrap booking tool, is a corner puncher.  It helps you cut the corners quickly and neatly!

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