Library Organization

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I have found that nothing creates a more effective reading workshop than an organized library.  Every teacher organizes her library in her own way, but you may find some of the ideas below helpful if you are trying to organize your own.  Many of the ideas have come from books or from visiting other teachers' classrooms.

Colored Baskets Represent Different Sections of the Library

All books in red baskets are fiction picture books.

All books in blue baskets are chapter book series.

All books in yellow baskets are chapter books that are not part of a series.

All books in green baskets are non-fiction books.

Favorite Authors & Collections

Books by Favorite Authors

In a separate section of the library, some books are grouped by favorite authors.  Our favorite authors include:

  • Patricia Polacco
  • Eve Bunting
  • Cynthia Rylant
  • Beverly Cleary
  • Judy Blume
  • Roald Dahl
  • Dick King Smith
  • Jerry Spinelli
  • David Adler
  • Gail Gibbons
  • Seymour Simon
  • Allen Say
Double Copy Books

We do Reading Partnerships in our classroom, so all double-copy books are kept in on a special book shelf.

 

Poetry & Math Stories

The white and orange baskets in the library include Poetry and Math Stories.

 

Magazines

Students can also choose to add one magazine to their book box.

 

Within each section of the library, books are categorized in baskets by genre or topic.  Each basket is labeled to indicate the type of books a reader will find inside.

Download My Basket Labels

Fiction Picture Book Categories

  • Historical Fiction
  • Mystery
  • Holidays
  • Realistic Fiction
  • Human-Animal Relationships
  • Animal Characters
  • Silly Stories
  • Folk Tales
  • Myth and Legends
  • Fairy Tales
  • Mixed-Up Fairy Tales
  • Good Character
  • Sports Stories

 

Non-Fiction Book Categories

  • Marine Life
  • Insects and Spiders
  • Reptiles
  • Birds
  • Animal Families
  • Many Different Animals
  • Dinosaurs
  • Weather and Seasons
  • Solar System and Space
  • Sports
  • World Travel
  • World History
  • U.S. History
  • U.S. Government
  • Science
  • Biographies
  • Careers
  • Geography
Chapter Books Series

The label on the front of every basket indicates the series that readers will find in the baskets.  The level of the books in the series is also indicated on the basket label.

 

Chapter Book Categories

  • Humorous Fiction
  • Realistic Fiction
  • Action Adventure
  • Animal Characters
  • Fantasy
  • Mystery
  • Choose Your Own Adventure

 

Here is a link the website where I purchased my book baskets.

 
All books are labeled so that books are put back in the correct baskets.

 

Books in the library are leveled with color codes.

Throughout the school year, students and I work together to determine each student's "just right" level for books to read in the classroom library.  As students get to know themselves as readers, they work their way through the levels.  A student can read books at their "just right" level and books below their "just right" level. (For example, a student whose JR level is Yellow 2 can also read Yellow 1, Red 2, and Red 1 books.)

 

Every book has a colored sticker with a number that corresponds to the levels on the arrow above.

Every basket label indicates what levels students will find inside the basket.  Since there are all levels in the weather basket, a single circle with all four colors is shown.

   
What do the color codes mean to the teacher?
Each color on the reading level arrow corresponds to a Fountas and Pinnell Guided Reading Levels.  The chart below shows how the classroom library codes compare to the Fountas and Pinnell levels and to grade levels.
Library Color Code Fountas and Pinnell Guided Reading Level Approximate Grade Level
Red 1 H & I 1
Red 2 J 2
Yellow 1 K
Yellow 2 L
Yellow 3 M
Yellow 4 N 3
Blue 1 O
Blue 2 P
Blue 3 Q 4
Blue 4 R
Green 1 S
Green 2 T 5
Green 3 U
Green 4 V
Green 5 W+ 6+
Click here to access the Scholastic Leveling Chart
 
How do you level the books?
The best resource that I have found to level the books in my library is the Scholastic Teacher Book Wizard.  When you look up a quiz for a book title, it will give you tons of information about the book including the reading level, guided reading level, interest level, lexile level, genre, reading skills, content topics and themes, cultures, etc..

Click here to access the website!

 
Classroom Library Catalog

 

 

I used a Microsoft Excel spreadsheet to create a catalog of all the books in my classroom library.  Students can use the catalog to look up books by title.  Also indicated on the spreadsheet is the books' author, number of pages, color code, and basket location in the classroom library.

Download the Excel Template

Check out My Book Collection List

(This is not an updated list of books in my classroom library since I have switched to using Intelliscanner.  This list was last updated in 2007.)

 
Helpful Articles and Books on Classroom Libraries
 

Setting Up a Classroom Library

Building and Using a Classroom Library

Five Major Functions of the Classroom Library

Creating an A+ Classroom Library

Creating Effective Space

Organizing the Materials

Click on the book below to check out the Scholastic book Your Classroom Library: New Ways to Give it More Teaching Power.

Do you have questions about my library?  Ask them here!

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