Friday, July 12, 2013

Classroom Library Organization

How do you organize your
classroom library?

I have struggled with this over the years and have had used many methods.  Here’s what I am currently doing and it has been the best system for me so far!

After deciding on how many baskets would fit onto my shelves (and a massive book sort) I grouped books by theme, concept, or sometimes even series. I have a different section in my library area for leveled books for students to choose from when they need a “just right” book to read independently.  This is for my general fiction and nonfiction collection.
Here are the organizational tricks for keeping the library in order:

1. Each Basket has a label with a word or two that describes it contents.

2. Each label also has a number.

3. The basket labels in each row are mounted on a piece of colored paper.

On the back of each book (see below) there is a sticker with the name and number of the basket written in the color matching the paper the label was mounted on.  This way the students can return the book using word, number, and color clues.

A class lesson at the beginning of the year on how to choose and return books to baskets is all it takes for my Kindergarteners to maintain this space.  They learn how the “codes” on the back of the book work quickly. 
Some mornings I will have a pile of books at each table that need to be returned or hand a few books to a student to return during transitions. This way students get a lot of practice using the system early on in the year.
Another quick tip:  Each student has a clothespin with their name on it.  They simply clip it to the basket when they are using a book and remove their clothespin when they return it. 
I also like to assign students a basket to be in charge of.  Just give them a little responsibility and they will police themselves! There are so many ways to find a book's proper basket with this system.

The students especially love making sure all of our books are in perfect condition.  I have a basket for books that need a little repair. 

It is next to impossible for the library to get too mixed up! It is even easy for parent volunteers to quickly reorganize if needed.
This system is simple to create and maintain. Adding color and numbers to the system you already have is a quick and easy way to build in even more organization to your current system with our starting from scratch.

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