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How do you organize your class library?

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How do you organize your class library?
Old 06-14-2011, 09:31 AM
 
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Hi! I'm new to 4th grade and I wondered how you organized your class library. In 1st grade, I organized by Guided Reading Level with AR level labeled on the book. I had a bin for each level but I didn't know if that works for 4th. I'm worried about attitudes about who is in different levels. In 1st, I didn't have a problem. I stressed that we all have different "good fit" books. Thanks!


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Good question
Old 06-14-2011, 09:49 AM
 
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I am moving to 4th grade this year also and I had my books by levels also. I had not even thought about, so I am glad you asked that question.

Tara
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Old 06-14-2011, 12:03 PM
 
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I think that is a good point and something you would just have to address with the students about how we are all different and reading different books. I ran into this a little bit this past year with my second graders. I always made it a point to present to the student individually and well if they chose to share the information then that was their decision. I think this is still a great way to level books because the kids really need to know which books are just right for them. If you are worried about it though, it will bother you all year so in that case level it by genre or author or whatever works best for the types of books you have.
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Old 06-14-2011, 02:06 PM
 
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I'm in fifth, but I plan on organizing my library by genre. I want to implement the Book Whisperer's 40 book challenge, and that encourages children to read certain genres so I think it will be easier.
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Old 06-14-2011, 02:23 PM
 
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This is how I have my library set up:
  • chapter books are in baskets in alphabetical order (I have a label in the back inside cover that identifies the genre.) - yellow baskets
  • chapter books that are apart of a series are in their own baskets - white baskets
  • books in baskets by popular authors - blue baskets
  • nonfiction books are in baskets according to their subject matter, such as biographies, science, weather, etc. - black baskets


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Old 06-14-2011, 02:36 PM
 
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We use Fountas and Pinnell in our school so when I took over my classroom this year ALL of the independent reading books were in labeled and leveled bins. Then social studies and science tradebooks as well as some picture books are in separate bins.

I inherited this classroom and its library in February and if this is the classroom I'm in next year I have big plans for the library- its the first thing I wanted to change but I knew it was way too much of an undertaking mid-year.

I liked the set up my 5th grade co-operating teacher had when I student taught. In that school they only wanted like 50-70% of the classroom library to be in labeled/leveled bins. The rest was divided into bins by series, genre, author, etc. That way students get some experience picking a book on their own and deciding if it is a "just right" book.

As far as attitudes towards levels, I do have a problem with that, I feel like the kids are so labeled with F & P you're practically saying "you're an o, you're an o, you're an o" and they're thinking well why is everyone else an r? The kids are definitely not oblivious to it but I have no choice about it. We're even required to have their levels displayed on a bulletin board. But for the most part the students are so conditioned to using F & P by the time they get to 4th grade they don't really seem to pay too much attention to each other's levels.
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Organizing a Library
Old 06-14-2011, 03:59 PM
 
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I believe that lexile and F & P levels are to be used as guidance. Certainly there are times that students are motivated to read books at higher levels, and want to revisit character friends at lower levels. Since my students participate in literature circles year round, and I do control those levels, I don't worry as much about their independent reading. I teach them a method to self select their independent books.

So, my regular chapter book library is divided into baskets by genre, with some baskets dedicated to particular authors. Students know to use the book selection method when choosing an independent book.

I also house about 140 literature circle titles. These are shelved according to their lexile levels, but there are no labels on the books or shelves. I keep the list of lexile numbers and a diagram of their locations to myself. In fact, they are not even shelved in chronological order. This gives me a lot of freedom to choose titles based on many different factors.
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Library
Old 06-15-2011, 02:26 PM
 
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I have my books organized by genre, but I also have them leveled with a small colored sticker. I don't openly share what the stickers mean with the class, but use them to help guide students to a book that would be a good fit for them. Being new to the grade I find this really helpful because I haven't read every book that is in my classroom library. If I have a kid who is constantly picking books out of their level (particularly too easy for them all the time) I might let them know that a certain color sticker is where they should be looking.
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Orgainizing Books
Old 06-15-2011, 05:31 PM
 
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Our school uses Accelerated Reader so I put colored dots on the front cover of the books according to that level. On the back of the book I write the genre of the book: B = biography, HF = historical fiction, RF = realistic fiction, etc. I group my books in baskets according to the genre. The fantasy baskets might have several different levels. I taught first grade for 14 years and won't give up picture books so those are also leveled and put into baskets by genre as well. I put the genre stickers on the back of the books so that the Classroom Librarians (about 3 people have that job at one time during the year) can put the books where they go. Favorite authors have baskets also.
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Old 06-17-2011, 03:55 PM
 
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I think if you put a sign in your library about how to choose appropriate leveled books ( counting the unknown words on your fingers, etc.) this may alleviate your worry about what other children think about who is reading what....this is an important skill to learn as they become more experienced independent readers
At this age, they should not have to read only what is their "level" and focus on genres instead. It seems inevitable that if you say they can't read it, they will want to...
I am looking forward to putting together my library too this coming September as I am coming back to the classroom after 9 years away!!!


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Old 06-19-2011, 03:23 AM
 
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I agree with the part of JstWnt2Teach's message about having a section leveled (mine is probably a bit less than 50% though) and the rest is series, genre, author.

Since libraries are not sorted by levels , kids do need to understand how to choose just right books from a typical library too.

The leveled baskets simply help them to see the kinds of books that are a good match for them. It doesn't mean that they can't strive to read books a bit more challenging if it's high interest to them.
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Thanks everyone!
Old 06-24-2011, 07:38 AM
 
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Thanks for all the ideas and suggestions. I am planning to read the Book Whisperer. I have seen it on PT a lot recently. Thanks!
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