Classroom Library

Discussion in 'Elementary Education' started by ha336, Jul 17, 2016.

  1. ha336

    ha336 Rookie

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    Jul 17, 2016

    I'm getting my new classroom ready for the school year and would like some thoughts on the classroom library... The teacher before me has the class books nice and organized in bins separated by reading level. While this appeals to my organizational side, I feel like it may be better to have all of the books mixed together. I don't want to confine my students to only their level, and I don't want to set them up for disappointment when the public library and book stores do not separate their books by reading levels... Thoughts?
     
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  3. cocobean

    cocobean Companion

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    Jul 17, 2016

    I have my library organized by genre. I want my students to choose books they're interested in, not by reading level!
    The key is to teach students to choose appropriate books when they're divided by genre.
     
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  4. Pashtun

    Pashtun Fanatic

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    Jul 17, 2016

    I think I would do it by genre and/or series. However, when helping students choose appropriate books they are essentially choosing books within a genre by their reading level. I think reading levels can help students zero in on good fit books. IMO, the key is emphasizing that any kinds of reading levels are just a guide, and that good fit books can fall above or below a given level. It is a starting point.
     
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  5. Leaborb192

    Leaborb192 Enthusiast

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    Jul 17, 2016

    What are your thoughts on Fiction over here and Non fiction over there? I'm thinking that's how I'll organize my library to start with. CCSS wants students reading more nonfiction (informational, expository texts) so it would probably help to just have them all organized together so the kids can easily find them, no? I've always just wanted to do that anyway.
     
  6. cocobean

    cocobean Companion

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    Jul 17, 2016

    I'm all for it! I have fiction organized by genre in green bins and nonfiction organized by topic in blue bins.
     
  7. Kellie McGrath

    Kellie McGrath Companion

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    Jul 17, 2016

    I don't have a classroom yet but I have all my books in my office at home by genre. I have non fiction themes/bins (plants, animals etc) and then fiction bins. If/when I have my own classroom I might pull some books for my group reading area by level. I also have a spreadsheet that I use when I add any book to my library. I put the title, a bunch of different levels (in case I ever have to level I will have it for whatever system the school uses) and which bin it is in. In case I ever need to locate anything.
     
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  8. gr3teacher

    gr3teacher Phenom

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    Jul 17, 2016

    I'll go a different route here and say leave the books alone. I personally don't like levelling books, and I'd never restrict students to a certain level.

    With that said... the work has already been done for you. They are neat. They have a definite organization system. They are already arranged in bins for you. LEAVE IT ALONE! See how you like it this year, and rearrange them next summer. For this year, I'd worry about all the stuff that hasn't been/won't be done for you. Don't worry about redoing something that's already done.
     
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  9. talknteach

    talknteach Rookie

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    Jul 17, 2016

    I have taught in 2 school districts and both used AR, so all my books are leveled and I had them in tubs by grade level (3.0-3.9, 4.0-4.9) etc. I did have several tubs of non-AR books that I used at the beginning and end of the year. This year I am in a new district without AR. I am going to keep my tubs with a few exceptions- I am going to pull out all the series books and put them together, regardless of level, and the non-AR books will be sorted by fiction/nonfiction. I am looking forward to seeing how it goes. And I agree with Pashtun- the levels are just a guide and they can read up or down by interest.
     
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  10. Rabbitt

    Rabbitt Connoisseur

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    Jul 18, 2016

    I have a large mixture. I have author bins, topic bins, genre bins. When I book doesn't fit somewhere, I have level F-P bins. magazine bins, books I've read aloud bins, joke book bins. At my former school, I could have these bins but I also had to label them with letters and AR.
     
  11. LovetoteachPREK

    LovetoteachPREK Companion

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    Jul 18, 2016

    I agree with the posters who say to sort by genre. I have a non fiction area too, which I've sorted into a few categories (Mammals, Fish, Birds, Earth and Miscellaneous Non Fiction.) I also have three bins sorted into 1, 2 and 3 for easy readers and a couple bins of Chapter Books. I teach first grade. I think sometimes it's nice for students to know where to go to find a book that they can read independently, but I also want them to look for books that appeal to their interests.
     
  12. mathmagic

    mathmagic Enthusiast

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    Jul 19, 2016

    Gr3teacher makes a great point about starting with what you already have, and then adjust as you see is needed or as you feel might work with the kids and your style. No need to jump into anything right before the year (which can be daunting, trust me!).

    That being said, I organize by genres, then by level (though I treat their "reading ranges" and the "levels" of the book very generically; they aren't confined by it, and instead it's more of a guide). I also pull out quite a few books separate and place them in tubs or in their own spot (I have mostly shelves): Popular series, by author (Kate DiCamillo, Rick Riordan, Roald Dahl, etc...), by subject matter of book (Pioneer-related books, Native American culture-related books, state-related books, for our different SS units).
     
  13. phillyteacher

    phillyteacher Comrade

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    Jul 19, 2016

    I had two sections in my library last year - one was by genre, and the other (books provided by my school) was by level. I can tell you the students barely touched the leveled shelves EXCEPT for my lowest readers. If I were teaching literacy again, I would only do the genre model and then I would just help any especially low readers identify good on-level reading materials.

    That said, like others have said you may want to hold off on reorganizing for now. You could try having students label by genre as they read, and then later in the year once most books are labeled you could do a sorting day.
     
  14. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    Jul 19, 2016

    My fiction library is mostly in leveled baskets. It helps kids find their just right books. Some are I author or genre bins- but even in those baskets, the books have levels on them. Non fiction is organized by topic.
     
  15. ha336

    ha336 Rookie

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    Jul 25, 2016

    Thanks so much for all of your help and suggestions! I ended up doing a mix- I left about half of the books organized by level and organized the other half by genre. I didn't want to mess up what was already done, and I thought my struggling readers may be overwhelmed having to search out something they could successfully read. Thanks again!
     
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