So I’ve been helping Kinder-2nd teachers set up their classroom libraries this last couple of weeks. Right now we are focusing on the “wide reading” part of their classroom libraries. So these are not tubs of leveled books. These are tubs of high quality children’s literature – fiction and nonfiction. I think teachers might be a little overwhelmed by how many books they have to sort and organize up front. We decided that each table of students needed a well developed tub of books and started with that number – 6 to 8. We received some great labels from the Scholastic rep that helped us pick appropriate categories or genres of books. The plan is for the teachers to use these bins for independent reading during reading workshop.
We made sure there was a balance of fiction and nonfiction tubs. A particularly good idea is having contrasting tubs – like a tub of books with animal characters (fiction) and a tub of informational books about animals. See picture below. We want primary students to start noticing the difference between books with talking animals in stories and books that share facts about animals. Later in the year – the teachers might make the tubs more rigorous by dividing the informational books into groups like “spiders and insects” and “marine life” and so forth.
A few notes about organization. We put colored sticker dots on the tub label and on each of the books to help the students return the books to the appropriate tubs. Of course, there’s never a wide enough variety of colored dots – so we drew circles (with permanent markers) in the middle of some colored dots so we’d have enough different kinds of dots for all of the tubs. Notice too – in the picture below – that the books are facing the front of the bin – we want students to be able to easily flip through the books when they are looking for a book of interest. Libraries with books on shelves spine facing out are not as easily accessible to our youngest students.
Okay…kids LOVE getting their hands on books!