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Organizing Classroom Libraries

Research has proven that exemplary classrooms have an extensive collection of books for their students to read independently each day. The challenge is how to manage and organize all those books.  An efficient classroom library is one that is easy for children to find the books they are looking for, plus empowers them to return the books to the proper place when they are finished.

Here are some ideas to consider:

Many teachers use baskets to sort their books by categories or reading levels. I myself have used baskets for years. I’ve tried different sizes and colors. Unfortunately, the books end up damaged in the process. The children bend them looking through the baskets, and damage the pages when the shove them back into the baskets. Often books are placed in the wrong baskets because the children aren’t sure which basket to use.

So this year, I am going to try this idea from Jen Runde:

Notice the Washi tape on the spines?  Washi tape comes in so many different patterns and colors so you can have more than the basic 8 colors typical of colored tape. Now each genre or category gets its own tape. The books are displayed spine-side out so the children can easily see the titles to choose from. Plus, they can quickly identify where to return the books!  I LOVE this!

Don’t want to hassle of putting tape on all your books? Perhaps you’d prefer this idea:

painted book shelves

Each shelf has been painted to identify different reading levels. It still would require some type of coding on the book so the students know which shelf to return the book.

Maybe you are just starting out and have a smaller collection of books. Here is a clever way to organize your shelves:

paint stick dividers

These dividers are wooden paint stirring sticks from a local paint distributor. Often these are free if you ask.

So what about your library? Please share your tips for managing your books.

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Alison Monk

When I started teaching, I quickly realized that student teaching didn't prepare me for the real challenges of being alone in a classroom full of young children. The learning curve was steep and time was limited. That is why I created the Literacy Garden. My hope is this will be a place for inspiration, mentoring, and connecting.

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Hi! I'm Alison

My #1 passion is all things literacy! I'm a curriculum creator and literacy specialist who loves to share creative and engaging ways to grow your students and are easy to implement. You can expect to find teaching tips to boost your confidence and grow your learners. You don't have to do this alone! I'm the support you've been looking for. I'm so glad you are here!

About the Literacy Garden

When I started teaching, I quickly realized that student teaching didn't prepare me for the real challenges of being alone in a classroom full of young children. The learning curve was steep and time was limited. That is why I created the Literacy Garden. My hope is this will be a place for inspiration, mentoring, and connecting.

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