I think of myself as an extremely organized person...however...I just cannot get a grip on getting (and keeping for that matter) my classroom library organized and "kid friendly." I often feel like it is too overwhelming for first graders. I have tried putting them in baskets and while it looks nice for a while, it always get messed up. I dont have a good system for keeping them organized, having students get books and put them back, etc...help!!!!

Completely understand the frustration. I had the same problem for a while. Here's what helped me. I usually have the students choose a basket for the table every morning after they finish their work. That way the books always go back in the same basket. (This also gives an incentive to be finished first at their table since they get to choose.) Books that are not AR I sort by category into these baskets. I have a math basket, a science basket, an animal basket, a favorite character basket (Clifford, Biscuit, Arthur, etc.). For Accelerated Reader books I use the large labels from WalMart in neon colors. Each color is a different level. That helps them know where to put them and if the book is on their level. Hope this helps you! :thumb:

Like snoopy, my baskets are organized by levels, themes, and genres. Each of my baskets has a number (I'm up to almost 60 baskets now), and each book in the basket has a number sticker on it. With about 2,000 books, it took me forever to do this year, but it was well worth the time! I saw that most of my books always made it back to their home! This is a much easier system for kids than trying to figure out what basket it belongs in (since some books could belong to 2-3 baskets).

I saw Debbie Diller speak yesterday and I thought she had a great idea for this. The first week of school you don't have many books out and when you read one you talk about the characters, genre, etc. Eventually you sit down with the kids and have them help sort into the baskets. Start really general-fiction and non-fiction. THen within the fiction books, what do we have a lot of?-Clifford books, ok we'll make a Clifford basket. This way they really understand the system of what book goes where, they have ownership in the system. She also doesn't believe in putting stickers on them because then the kids don't have to think about where they go. If they have to think about the book and where to put it-that's another lesson right there. I'm going to try it this way this year.

My library is in a storage closet right now. It is divided by fiction/nonfiction and genres. This will make the next part easier on me. I take 2 or 3 different genres and mix those books up and put them in 4 different baskets an of those books on each table. I have 4 tables. Each day the kids at the table read from the basket on their table. After each day, I rotate the baskets. Then, on the 5th day, each table dumps out the books on their table and sorts them. This should be manageable since they were somewhat presorted before you mixed them in there and the sorting should be somewhat obvious. One table might find they had shark books and award winners. Another table might find they had Mercer Mayer and ABC books. Another table might find they had Kevin Henkes and nursery rhymes. Another table might find board books and books about plants. Each table will tell the class how they sorted the books and decide on what to call the basket of books. (I bring out more baskets as they sort.) I have a printer nearby so I quickly type up the new label and tape it to the basket. I might go through the process again if I want more books out right away. Throughout the year I add to the library. I'll bring out a basket of books and read a book from that basket and show how all the books in the basket are similar (or let them see how they are similar) and place it in the library.

Can you use color-coded dots for each genre, put them either on the front of the books or the spines, and this way even your nonreaders can help organize the books at the end of the day. If you have jobs in your classroom you can even assign 2 of them this job. We have done this in third grade and it works really well.

You could give each child a different color index card with his name on it. When he removes a book from a shelf or bin, he inserts the card there and leaves it so he knows where to return the book. Limit the number of cards so they must return a book to get another.

This thread brings up another of my (many) questions... How many books do your students have in their "readers workshop" boxes (I actually have $1 Dr. Seuss bags I'm gonna use command clips to attach to their chairs)? How often do they change books?

I let them keep their school library books in their boxes, and then a few out of my library... this wound up being too many, so this year I am going to limit them to 1 of my books at a time. They check out from the school library once a week, and my library as frequently as they need.

At my school, first graders don't check out books from our official library. They don't do AR, either. Right now, I have no (economical) way to determine their reading levels, but that is another story (we are DIBELS all the way). The only books some of my kids ever see is in my classroom. I did not let any go home last year. The year before, I did, but few came back. I need to find a foolproof and easy way to organize and checkout materials from my library for/to my kids! I can check out books from our library and let the students read them, but they aren't allowed to do it until 2nd grade. Go figure!

The amount of books for each child depends on their reading level. Level N will have fewer books than level C. Level C students have about 10 books. Level G will have about 6-8. I have plastic book boxes. Inside each book box is a ziploc bag of guided reading books and a ziploc bag of classroom library (leveled library and I let them choose 1 or 2 from the class general library) books. The ziploc bags make it easy to quickly just pull out GR books during GR time since that time is so precious and goes by so fast!