What teacher doesn’t love books? The trouble with being a confirmed bibliophile is usually one of space: Just where are you going to put them all?
We have a few ideas. Why not celebrate School Library Month by taking stock of all your great classroom books and getting them organized? With the right materials, you can create a usable classroom library that your students will love.
Get Practical With Your Paperbacks
The most problematic part of your classroom library? All those slender, spineless paperbacks. Easy readers are usually quite thin, and they don’t exactly stand up on a shelf by themselves — one false move and the whole row comes cascading to the floor.
First, organize the books into categories. You can do this by reading level, topic or series — whatever makes the most sense for your collection. Next, place each stack of books into labeled magazine files or colorful bins. If you have hundreds of these small volumes, a dedicated set of shelves with compartment bins will allow you make room for them all.
Keep Bigger Books Standing Tall
For thicker paperbacks, hardcover books and anything too big for your bins, you need a way to keep them standing tall on your shelves. To do this, you’ll need several bookends. You can purchase these or make a DIY version by covering several heavy bricks with cute fabric. With enough bookends, you can sort your books into as many categories as you like — just stand them up between two bookends on your shelves, leaving the bookends to mark the groupings.
If you’re not sure how to divide your books, try lining them up in strict alphabetical order by title — then challenge your students to get their books back in the right spots by practicing their alphabetizing skills.
Create a Rotating Display
On the top of a low bookshelf, entice kids to choose new books by rotating the ones you display in a place of honor. Set out a featured bin each week, or try fanning out a selection of books that work with a current curriculum theme or holiday. Consider adding a few literacy easels with books open to a great picture or interesting page to spark interest when kids pass by — no one can resist an open book!
You can also encourage older kids to get involved by creating a space where students can post book recommendations for their fellow readers. A white board where kids can jot down titles they loved works well, or you can try a bulletin board with cute cut outs to write on.