Quick Q About Library Organization

Discussion in 'Elementary Education' started by Ad Astra, Jul 12, 2013.

  1. Ad Astra

    Ad Astra Rookie

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    Jul 12, 2013

    Hello! :) I know I want to organize my library by genre/topic, but should I also have my books leveled? If so, what's a good way to do that? I'm hoping to acquire a great deal of books for my library by the beginning of the school year, but do I need to go through and level them all? How does that work? How can I make sure that students are able to find books on their "just right" reading level independently?

    Thanks for any guidance you can provide!
     
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  3. iteachbx

    iteachbx Enthusiast

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    Jul 12, 2013

    There are different websites you can use to level them, like Scholastic Book Wizard, though I have found some inaccuracies there. Sometimes the books come with a level on them. Usually books in the same series are the same level, or close to the same level. (Sometimes they get a little harder as the series goes on so kids can grow with them.)

    I have all my books leveled so my students can find a just right book. However I allow them to read books a little below and above their level. It's not like you're a Q reader, you pick the Q books. If they're interested in something a little higher I warn them that it'll be a challenge and they'll have to read it slowly but it will be great practice for them.

    I'm always in the classroom library with them when they book shop- it make sure they pick appropriate books. It helps a lot.
     
  4. Ad Astra

    Ad Astra Rookie

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    Jul 12, 2013

    Awesome! Thank you!
     
  5. pwhatley

    pwhatley Maven

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    Jul 12, 2013

    When I consider organizing my library, my head begins to spin :dizzy:. I am cataloging everything via classroombooksource.com, and including the AR & Lexile levels in the catalog (and most of my books already have stickers with the AR levels), so that doesn't bother me so much. When I actually start go organize the books themselves, it gets crazy. Genres? Okay no problem - fiction & nonfiction. All Magic School Bus books together? easy peasy. I don't have room, however to do the extensive organizing that others have mentioned in the past (Animals, Animals with Paws, Animals with Flippers, etc.) I like having all books by the same author together - if I could use the dewey decimal system in my classroom I would. I think I'm too ADD to easily organize it, though - I usually have books divided by levels & steer the kids toward the levels that are closer to their general reading ability (I know, not the best approach). Someone please, come do my library for me!
     
  6. Ad Astra

    Ad Astra Rookie

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    Jul 12, 2013

    :lol::lol::lol::lol::lol:

    That made me crack up! I don't think I have the time or the space for this! But I like your ideas, quite a bit! Thanks again for your help! You are proving to be quite the resource! :thumb:
     
  7. yellowdaisies

    yellowdaisies Fanatic

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    Jul 12, 2013

    I'm glad someone posted about this! I have about 1,000 books. Last year I had them organized by genre, author, etc (though not QUITE as detailed as pwhatley mentioned :lol:) but I want to level part of my library...I think...I am seriously making myself crazy second guessing my decision to do any leveling and there are just SO MANY BOOKS and it's a mess! SIGH. :rolleyes:

    Sorry I'm not much help...LOL.
     
  8. Lynn K.

    Lynn K. Habitué

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    Jul 13, 2013

    When I taught 5th grade, I sorted my novels by genre. I bought great labels from a blogger (can't remember which one?) and I loved it! The kids loved it, and they were always excited to be the one who got to sort the new books each month.

    I didn't worry about level too much. By 5th grade, I feel that as long as they're reading, I'm good with it.
     
  9. Roobunny

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    Jul 16, 2013

    Yellow - you work with 1st graders...how do you make sure they get the books back to the appropriate category? I want to organize my library by genre, topic, and author but I also want to make sure my students can put the books back where they belong.

    Last year I had them organized by AR level and really didn't like that system. I still have all the colored dots on all of my books to determine which AR level it was. Perhaps I can put a different colored sticker on the back of the book that corresponds to the same basket (category) color? My head is spinning just like pwhatley's....
     
  10. iteachbx

    iteachbx Enthusiast

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    I have 3rd graders and for putting the books away I used more distinctive stickers...blue balloon, frog, panda bear, etc. (those cheap little circle ones that come hundreds in a pack but have little pictures on them.) It made it easier for them to put them away and I was able to have many different bins.
     
  11. yellowdaisies

    yellowdaisies Fanatic

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    I bought those circle garage sale stickers - I try to use all one color to prevent confusion. They have single color packs at office stores - I just got two huge packs of 1,008 stickers for $5 each at Office Max. (I got two packs because my leveled library - more on that after this paragraph - will have a different colored label.) I write a number in sharpie on the sticker. The sticker goes in the top right corner of the book, so the kids always know where to look. The label on the basket has the same sticker with the same number in the top right corner. I don't know why it worked (I had my doubts!) but it did. There were always some books in the wrong place, but I have two kids that are librarians each week as part of our assigned jobs, so they go through and clean that up. I also had MANY eager helpers last year who would clean it up themselves...lol. For me, I was very explicit in teaching it. We'd use examples, have volunteers come up, etc. Every time I noticed it getting unruly we would sit down and do the whole teaching again. Practice, practice, practice. They got it! I was impressed. With my kiddos, the simple label seems to really work. They can match 2 with 2 or 11 with 11, but I think it would be harder if I got more symbols/colors/shapes involved.

    I finally decided how to organize my library, back to the OP's original question. I am going to stick to genre/series/topic baskets - separated into fiction and nonfiction. I also have a leveled library based on Reading A-Z levels - that's what I'm using because my school doesn't purchase a leveling program and I purchased Reading A-Z myself. The leveled baskets (I found the CUTEST little crates at Wal Mart on Sunday!) will include easy readers and printed out books from Reading A-Z. I will not include popular series like Biscuit, Berenstain Bears, Fly Guy, Clifford, etc. into the leveled categories even if there are easy reader books included. These high interest series will be in the main library because I want all the kids to have access. Shared love for specific characters and authors really built classroom community last year and instilled a love of reading in my little guys.

    I am fully implementing Daily 5 this year (used a modified version last year), so my kiddos have book boxes. I have not figured out what the breakdown of leveled books/genre books in their book boxes will be. I'm thinking maybe 2 leveled/3 genre or something like that.

    I decided not to level my entire library because I quickly discovered that most high quality picture books are VERY high levels. I teach first grade, so most of them are actually way above grade level! I don't want my lowest and even on level kids to miss out on some of those books. I plan to really focus on doing a read aloud every day this year, reading one of the harder books so the kids can practice retelling using the pictures during read to self. I also plan to teach the three ways to read a book - pictures, words, retell - and how to choose a good fit book. This is all spelled out in the Daily 5 book. I am very excited to try it out this year!

    Sorry this is so long - it's something I've been devoting a LOT of careful thought to recently! :blush:
     
  12. pwhatley

    pwhatley Maven

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    I just started entering my books into classroombooksource.com. It's free, and while it's not perfect, I like that it has an easy check out/in app (even for my iPhone). I also like that I can list them by AR and Lexile level, Fiction/Nonfiction, genre, you name it! So far, I have 246 titles in (many of which are multiples!). I still have a number of boxes to go, though.... and that doesn't even begin to put the books in any kind of order in my room. Ugh - I started out proud and ended up realizing how much work I have to do!
     
  13. Roobunny

    Roobunny Comrade

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    Jul 22, 2013

    Yellow - I sent you a PM regarding your library system
     
  14. TeacherShelly

    TeacherShelly Aficionado

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    Aug 31, 2013

    Question about the stickers with numbers... how many levels do you have? I have books from Biscuit and Puppy Mudge through Inkspell. How many levels do you have with the stickers (not lexile/a-z/etc).
     
  15. MsMar

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    I have organized mine in a rather basic way. I get the level from scholastic book wizard. I write that level on the left side on a white label and stick it on the book. On the right I mark off with marker a scribbled squarish shape in either red, blue or green. Levels 3 are red, 4s are blue, 5s and up are green. (I don't have books out lower than grade 3 though I have some set aside that I can choose to give out to an ESL student or anyone else that would have a need for a lower level.) Then they go into a red, blue or green basket. One of my jobs on my job chart is "book bins" and that person is responsible to check a few times during the week that the books are in the colored bin that matches the level. And as far as students choosing a book, the know red is easier than green but that they can choose whatever colored book they want. My library isn't huge so this system works well for me. I probably have 200 - 250 books in total. It did take a while to look up the levels of all the books but I did it over the summer and also had my 12 year old help me when he joined me at school when I was doing classroom set up.
     
  16. TeacherShelly

    TeacherShelly Aficionado

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    Aug 31, 2013

    MsMar, thank you! How many levels do you have, though? Are Level 3 (red) all one level, or a range?
     
  17. OhThePlaces

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    Aug 31, 2013

    I have about half of my library leveled (Scholastic Book Wizard is awesome) and I have the other half divided by genre/author.

    I also talk to my 3rd graders about how to find a "good fit" (google IPICK).
     
  18. TeacherShelly

    TeacherShelly Aficionado

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    OhThePlaces, how did you decide which books to level and which not?

    Also, for anyone, how wide is your range? If you teach 3rd, do you have books from other levels in your library?
     
  19. TeacherShelly

    TeacherShelly Aficionado

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    So I spent the afternoon looking up books on Scholastic and organizing them by Guided Reading levels. I have I through V but I'm only putting out I through P (my highest reader).
     
  20. MsMar

    MsMar Fanatic

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    I look up the grade level on Scholastic and they're anything from a 2.9 to a 3.9. Blue is 4.0 to 4.9 and green is 5.0 and higher, with I think a 6.8 being the highest I have. So basically red is third grade reading level ranging from early third through end of third.
     
  21. TeacherShelly

    TeacherShelly Aficionado

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    Sep 1, 2013

    My eyes were really opened to the fact that my library is skewed toward the HIGH end. No wonder it's not used as much as I want.

    I have one of those rolling two sided (like in a library, but wood) bookshelves. I put only up to P (guided reading P, 38 DRA, T Reading A-Z level) on one side, then pushed it against the wall so they have to ask to get a higher book. It's another topic, but having a DRA 28 kid holding Harry Potter has got to stop!
     
  22. iteachbx

    iteachbx Enthusiast

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    Sep 1, 2013

    This year I organized my library so that my leveled books are on the top shelf of each of my book shelves. So one shelf has A-K, the next L-O and the last P-Z. Underneath on the other 2 shelves are the books organized by genre that are "about" in that range. So for example, my Henry and Mudge books are on the first shelf, Magic Tree House is on the second and Diary of a Wimpy Kid is on the third. School hasn't started yet, but I'm hoping this will be a helpful way of keeping kids within a range of levels appropriate to them without pigeon holing them to the "m" bin.
     
  23. Lynnnn725

    Lynnnn725 Connoisseur

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    Sep 2, 2013

    I have a general library labeled by genre or character or author...

    I also have a smaller, leveled library. I know the exact levels in each box, but the kiddos do not. Their level determines how many of the leveled books they keep in book basket. They are allowed 2 general library books, but the rest are leveled. I mostly want them reading just right books during reading workshop. They have plenty of other time (free time) to read from the general library.
     

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