How much library to level?

Discussion in 'First Grade' started by snickydog, Jul 7, 2008.

  1. snickydog

    snickydog Groupie

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    I started to organize my books in bins a la Beth Newingham. (http://hill.troy.k12.mi.us/staff/bnewingham/myweb3/) However, I'm really torn about how many books I should level, if I should level them at all.

    We do many lessons throughout the year about choosing just right books, and some students get a stronger grasp on this concept than others. I like them to try to choose books independently, but they need so much help at the beginning of the year that I thought leveling them the way Beth Newingham does would work well. I don't want a stigma attached to the "red" books or something like that, either.

    How much of your library do you level? Do you put the guided reading level (letter D, for example) on the book or do you use a code like Beth Newingham does?
     
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  3. TeachnRox

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    Organizing Library

    I level all the books I can find levels for, which out of 850ish books, I have 470 leveled.... According to librarything.

    I put the GRL on the spine, for me. We work on picking the just right book, so, I don't explain it to the kids. I put it there for their independent reading tubs. Rather than each kid having a container, I had each reading group have one and I chose the books (about 25 books in each tub). I was hired a couple days before school, so I came up with the independent reading tubs for reading groups as a way to keep my kids out of my unorganized library until I came up with a system and bought the baskets.

    I also use the levels for picking books for guided reading. Right now my library is not organized, it is just a lot of books. I don't have a lot of classroom space, I love the way B. Newingham has hers set up, but in actuality I just don't have the shelves or the shelf space.

    I have a star sticker on the top of the spine if it is a Reading Counts book. Students know the meaning of this.

    Keep us posted and best of luck! :)
     
  4. snickydog

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    Thanks for the feedback! Do you find the kids limit themselves to only their level book? I worry that I'd have a kid really into, say, dinosaurs, who wouldn't pick up the dinosaur book if it was a bit of a reach for him/her.

    You could probably modify Beth Newingham's set up. She has a lot of baskets that, at the primary level, you could combine (especially in non-fiction).
     
  5. hescollin

    hescollin Fanatic

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    Jul 7, 2008

    Level and organize books

    Every book in every room at our school is leveled. PK-12. We all use the same codes, colors and etc.
     
  6. TeachnRox

    TeachnRox Companion

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    book selection

    When I pick out books, I look for ones they can read and ones according to interests. For example, I had a student who was dealing with some sibling rivalry, so I found books about that such as Froggy's baby sister...ones he could read, and put them in his group tub. I include dinosaur books, if someone in that group likes dinosaurs. I let them read out of other tubs, I would much rather them try to read harder books, or just look at the pictures, then nothing at all. Often times, they read with a buddy. I just did this to keep them from making a mess of my library shelves, and making books more assessable.

    I would love to do with B. Newingham does, but I just don't have the space. I am a primary teacher in a what used to be a 6th grade classroom, so I have been pretty much dealing with what is available. Our building went from k-6 to k-2. I only have 3 power outlets and I have one very small cabinet that is meant to hang up items for the teacher, so needless to say my room configuration and storage is a challenge.

    I also have gutters under my white board, which hold theme books on particular topics we are learning, and themes in our reader. Sometimes I just put books in the gutter that I think the kids would like....joke books, nonfiction books, optical illusion books, I Spy. :)
     
  7. lemonhead

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    Jul 8, 2008

    Hijack-- where do you put the level? tag or comment?

    Do you use the DRA levels or something else?

    I have most of my books in Librarything now, about 811 as I type this :), but I did not level one of them. I will be a first year teacher. Do you think it is okay if I don't level them for this first year or do you think it is absolutely necessary.

    Thank you

    Lemon
     
  8. TeachnRox

    TeachnRox Companion

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    tags

    I put the level under tag....grl g, grl h, grl i and so on. I use Guided Reading Levels. You could do dra and have your tag be dra16, or something of that nature.

    Do you think it is okay if I don't level them for this first year or do you think it is absolutely necessary.

    I think that depends on you. I use mine for guided reading and picking out just right books for my kids. If you haven't done it, and it isn't something you want to do, then you don't have to. If you do want to do it, then I would suggest starting now, I just took home a crate every weekend and sat and leveled. Pretty soon your 800 books are going to grow even more, then you will be trying to level 1000. I have finished with my classroom library, and am now working on importing my teaching resources. I just have a box and when I buy books, I put them in the box until they are leveled, then I put them in my library. If I can't find a level I put it in my library, but not without a thorough search. Feel free to PM me if I can help anymore! HTH :)
     
  9. lemonhead

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    Jul 9, 2008

    Okay. None of my books will be used for guided reading as we have an entire school-wide guided reading library. Teachers book shop there once or twice a week to pick out leveled books for the students.

    Next question, are you looking up these levels somewhere or are you determining them yourself?

    I was thinking about possibly having 5 or 6 different color stickers that I would use for leveling this first year. What if I said anything with a yellow sticker is A-C, blue stickers D-F and so on? That way I could suggest to kiddos to look for books with a certain color sticker. Maybe then next summer I could come back and get more specific where I determine the exact reading level, write it on that sticker and enter into librarything.

    Gosh, I don't know. I am absolutely swamped right now working two part-time jobs. I know I should do it and all my books are in my garage in the sorting phase, so it would be a good time. I can see the importance of leveling them to help the kiddos pick out books but I am not sure if I need to put the levels in librarything since I can't see myself referring to the levels (at least at this point)

    Sorry for the ramble...I am just sort of thinking out loud and venting. Wow do I sound wishy washy. Good grief!!
     
  10. buck8teacher

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    Jul 9, 2008

    My enitre library is leveled, except for certain books that I use for lessons, which I keep in a plastic file box in my teaching area. I've leveled them as I purchased new books. My students were always SO EXCITED when I mentioned there were new books to add to the library, and after I leveled them....they put them in the library.

    My school had HUGE roles of address sized labels donated to us, so I just write the Lexile Level and how many points the quiz for the book is on the label and attach it to the cover. I also write my name inside or on the cover. I would love one day to have it sorted like Beth Newingham, but I don't have the space either. I've gone a little crazy with quanity, and next summer, I plan on going through my library and weeding out books that I know my kids aren't picking up to read, like all my Baby Sitter's Little Sister Books. Even though we talk about not judging books by their cover, my kiddos weren't picking them up, because they looked "old". Even though it's a series I bet they would, at least the girls, would like. I'll probably weed out some of the American Girl as well....most of my students just weren't into them. :(
     
  11. buck8teacher

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    Jul 9, 2008

    Most of the first and second grade teachers at my school use colored dots for their levels. We have Lexiles, and BR-199 might be red and 200-299 might be green. Then after they take the placement quiz, they know they can read from blue, green, and yellow depending on their level. I used it when long term subbing, and it works well with younger kids!

    I give each of my kids a sturdy gallon sized zip lock bag, and they can keep three books in there. I call this their Bag of Books and they use it during Self Selected Reading and when they are finished with their work. Then I give them a bookmark each quarter with their new Lexile Level for when they go book shopping. I go shopping with them when they get their new levels. At least, this is what works for me. Hope this helps!
     
  12. TeachnRox

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    Jul 9, 2008

    leveling

    Part 1- I look up on the internet for levels, scholastic has a lot of them, but then there have been a lot of other companies that have them too. If I order them from the book orders, I get the levels from there. I don't level them myself, I know there is guidance in the Fountas pinnell book if you want to do this, but I just don't.

    Part 2-Figure out a system for you. I move around a bit, and am usually not at a school for more than 2 years, so I picked a system that was mobile, and would transfer....thus I use the GRLs. I used the lexile (lexile.com has quite a bit leveled) at my last school, but not here. DRAs would be good too, but I have been at a school that don't use DRAs.

    Part 3- Two part time jobs, if you don't have the time then don't do it! I know I wouldn't. :) But as you get new books that trickle in you could just write inside the front cover the level with a pencil, that way when you decided to do this, you have some done for you! :)

    Part 4- no you don't sound wishy washy! No worries :)

    HTH Rox

    buck8teacher- I do love your library! Your address label idea is awesome....I feel a vistaprint shopping spree coming on!
     
    Last edited: Jul 12, 2008
  13. buck8teacher

    buck8teacher Devotee

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    I just use plain white address labels and just handwrite the Lexile and points value. I don't really think Vistaprint's address labels are good deals....:) Especially when these are free! It might even be cheaper to get the package of address labels at Wal Mart (cheapest place I've seen----I've bought lots of address labels over the past two years when job searching) and creating a quick label in Word. :) I made my book bin labels in word and then just trimmed them with my paper cutter and attached them with shipping tape!
     
  14. lemonhead

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    Thanks ladies. I need to mull this over. Sounds like I could use the dots, but that I would need to look up levels. If I don't level my teacher books (those for lessons and those too special) that brings it down to 6oo or so books.


    Writing levels on the inside of the cover is a great idea! I've already done that by trait for all the teacher books I have designated for 6 traits writing lessons.
     
  15. snickydog

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    I have begun the leveling! I'm doing all the ones I've purchased personally first. They're all new-ish (new or bought through eBay in good condition) and series or authors my students have previously liked. I am looking up levels (or, as I saw a post by Beth Newingham, if you can't find a level, type some text from the book into Word, then do a grammar check. You get a grade level which is a ROUGH estimate of the book level) on Scholastic and Lexile.

    There's a number of school purchased books and books from the last teacher in the library already. Many are old and not appealing (like a copy of The Little Red Hen that is hardcover... the dust jacket had the only art on the cover, and it's gone!! I teach first - no matter what you say to them about choosing a book based on what's inside, they're not going to pick up a book with a scribbled-on title!). I don't think I can really get rid of them since I didn't buy them. What would you suggest doing with the non-used books? I only want to level what I plan to put in the library (obviously!).
     
  16. lemonhead

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    For the ones with no art, you can let them design a new cover on white heavy construction paper and then use that Modge Podge stuff and stick it on there.

    For the ones they don't read, I was kicking around the idea of putting them all in a basket and then calling it something like "Critic's Basket" or "Review Basket". Then I would let the kids know that they are special books on which I need their opinions. Then, I'll have little cards like those peer review cards that Beth N. uses (but not identical b/c I am also going to use those peer cards) which are specific for the basket. After a student reviews one of the books from that basket, they get to fill out the card and put it on a special Reviewer's or Critic's board. I haven't figured out how that board would work yet.

    Lemon
     
  17. lemonhead

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  18. love_reading

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    I don't have any of my classroom library books leveled. We have a guided reading room with all our leveled books that I use for reading groups. Then they keep these in their book bags for familiar reading. I teach them to look for just right books when we do our reading workshop so I don't really have a need to level my own books.
     
  19. snickydog

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    Hmm! I like the Critic's Basket or whatever. I went through my library today after summer school (just a brief 5-10 minute skim) and was looking at what my summer school and regular school year kids checked out - like NONE of the books that were in the room when I got there. I think there's something to be said about books that look newer (I buy mine either on eBay used but good condition or through book orders).

    Is it superbad to want to box up the ones kids don't like and put them somewhere? I don't think I can get rid of school-bought ones.
     
  20. lemonhead

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    What teachers do at our school is put a little stack in the work room with "free" on them. Someone will scoop them up.
     
  21. lemonhead

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    What a great find! Who knew?!
     

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