Friday, September 7, 2012

A Classroom Library "Mini Makeover"

Like most teachers, I want everything that I do in my instruction and classroom set up to reflect a love of reading.  To that end, much of my classroom surroundings promote reading.  From posters that promote a positive attitude of reading, to our class anchor charts, to a growing classroom library of almost 100 bins, I hope that when my kids step into the room, they see that reading is valued here. 

Part of my classroom library after I bought new, sturdy bins!

This summer, I noticed that my classroom library had book bins of all different colors and sizes, and while there is nothing wrong with that, I observed that many of the bins were beginning to show wear and tear or cracks and marks from lots of use.  After seeing a colleague’s classroom library, I decided to streamline my own library and buy bins of all one color, so that the books looked even more organized and accessible.  I knew that this would involve quite an investment on my part, but the bins I chose were sturdy, so I know they will last a long time. 

At one point during this process of running to store after store in our area, I questioned myself, thinking, “What am I doing?”  “Is this all worth it?”  I knew inherently that kids could access my classroom library just fine with the current set up.  My book bins have always been clearly labeled and well organized.  Except for the few worn/cracked bins, the classroom library was a “well-oiled machine,” one in which kids usually found books and enjoyed the experience of picking a just right book.  But as I was shopping to replace so many bins, I wondered, “Have I gone a bit nutty?”

My main classroom library "nook" :)
I love the streamlined look of the bins!

I know that the practice of changing out book bins is not all that unusual a practice.  But I didn’t know for myself if it was really necessary.  Upon reflection, I realized that this effort was one more step for me to continue to promote a love of reading.  I wanted the library to look pleasing to the eye; I wanted the library to be an inviting place to be, and even easier to access than before.  In the process of relabeling, I further specified my book bins.  I decided to create some popular author tubs (Gary Paulsen, Jeff Kinney, J.K. Rowling, Gordon Korman, etc.), and I also wanted to try to place lots of series books together as well, so that kids could quickly find the popular titles that they were looking for.  I still have some work to do in my classroom library, as I want to look into my nonfiction titles and break them down more by topic or author, to really become more thoughtful about the direction we are going with the Common Core Standards, but for now, I feel thrilled with the progress.  The time and energy spent on revamping the library organization was done with a heart toward promoting reading.  Aesthetics is one way in which we can pull kids into a love of reading, but it’s also about organizing books in smart, logical ways.  No one way of organizing our libraries is perfect, and it is a process that evolves each year.  But I am excited for my kids to dig into the library and find scores of books toward their yearly book goal, and all the while, growing in their love of reading day by day. 

An overall view of the classroom.  My classroom library is against the back wall.

No comments:

Post a Comment