Let me preference this blog post with …. I’m obsessed with books! I’m sure many teachers can relate to this statement.
When I was a child, my mum would often say that whenever she couldn’t find me, she knew exactly where to look. I was always lying on my bed, engrossed in a good book. I loved using my imagination, creating my impression of what characters looked like, pretending I was also in the setting or interacting within the story. I read a huge variety of books, ranging from comics to novels.
As I grew older, my love of books only grew. At our school, we have a wonderfully stocked library full of fiction, non fiction and teacher resources. In fact, when I first started working at the school, (before having a class of my own), I was the teacher in the library, providing literacy lessons to K-7 classes when they visited each week. I was in book heaven! Now as a classroom teacher, my class attends the library for our weekly literacy sessions with the gorgeous teacher librarian, to complement what we are doing in our room.
While my students can go to the library whenever they wish, I always ensure that I have my own personal library for students to access. In my class, there’s never an excuse to not read! Over the years I have scoured second hand book shops, garage sales and willingly received donations from friends. (Oh and did I mention I get a bit excited when the Scholastic Book Club brochures come around?!!?!) I’d ideally LOVE a huge bookcase but there’s not a lot of room so I’ve dedicated one table area to my books. This is what my library area looks like:
To date I have almost 3,000 books in my classroom library. Other teachers are shocked when they find out they I have purchased them out of my own pocket, but it’s just my thing. When a parent tells me that their child is reading more this year than ever and is enjoying it, it makes my purchases all worthwhile. I have a wide selection of reader levels, to cater for all abilities and interests. With that many books, I also intentionally do not put them all out at once. I rotate the boxes each term to ensure student interest. It also gives me the chance to introduce each box and explain the series in each one, explicitly analyzing text features and exploring characters. To keep track of which books I have put out for each term, I keep a page that has 4 quadrants recorded (one for each term) and list the series in each box that I have put out to avoid repetition.
I print off labels that have images of book series logos, laminate, then using boxes that I purchased from Cheap as Chips, I attach the labels using wide packing tape from Kmart to the front of each box showing which series are in each box. (See above for the finished boxes) Students can then easily identify which boxes they wish to borrow from.
PLEASE NOTE: As the images of the book series headers are copyrighted by their respective publishing houses, I am unable to share these with you.
The next step for a classroom library is to monitor borrowing and promote student borrowing accountability. In the upcoming sequel to this blog post, I will explain how I manage this mammoth task really easily!