Sunday, July 26, 2015

Organizing Your Classroom Library

This summer is about to come to an end for many of us.  Like you, I had many "classroom tasks" that I wanted to complete before the new year started.  One thing on my list was to tackle my classroom library.  Before now, my books were just randomly placed bookshelves and had no organization to them AT ALL!  People who know me well would find this out of character for me.  Organization is my middle name!  Anyway, my biggest dilemma do I want to organize my books- by reading level, subject, author, or genre?  I mean there are a million ways to organize a classroom library!  After much debate, I decided to organize my books by genre. Why?  Because I use a Reader's Workshop approach in my classroom, and I spend a lot of time teaching the students the characteristics of genres and encourage them to read across genres.

Here is a look at how I organized my library using clear baskets from Oriental Trading.

My book baskets are all labeled by genre.  I still have to put the finishing touches on my library before school starts. I plan to make labels to put on the books so the students will know what basket a book belongs in. ****If you would like to download a template of my labels, click here.

I don't know about you, but I have some books that I just use for instruction.  When I first started teaching, I placed all my books on the shelves for my students to checkout.  Unfortunately, I found that many of the books went missing, and I had to replace them.  Lesson learned!  For the books that I use as mentor texts or for literacy stations, I organized them by subject...on a different shelf.  :) 

To help the students learn more about the classroom library organization and about genres, I plan to use the first few weeks of school exposing my students to the different books from all the genres.  As a class, we will complete notes on each genre's characteristics (focusing on the plots, characters, and settings) of fiction.  For poetry and nonfiction books, we will look at structural elements and text features.  I will start by using my Reader's Workshop Folder resource the first week of school.  This file contains all of the genre note templates, as well as all the materials my students will need to track the genres they are reading throughout the school year.  Visit my TpT store for a closer look at this resource.

I am excited and ready for school to start!  I already feel like the school year has started out so smoothly.....and the students haven't even stepped foot in the classroom!  LOL!!!  For those of you that already have an organized classroom library, I applaud you.  You were already onto something!  If you haven't organized your library or if you don't like your current system, maybe this post will inspire you!

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