Building a classroom library can be a daunting task, but it’s an integral part of your classroom—and one that should always be growing and changing. This is the part of your classroom that will invite and encourage young readers, perhaps even boosting their confidence in their literary skills. Does it have to be perfect? No. But there are some guidelines to follow when creating your library.
- Don’t try to build it all in one day: Rome wasn’t built in a day, and neither are classroom libraries.
- Plan it out and enlist help: Ask your school’s reading specialist or facilitator for guidance. Walk around and look at other teachers’ classroom libraries. Talk to veteran teachers to see why their library works in their classroom.
- Be flexible: Use what you have and see what works in your classroom. Change what you feel isn’t working well. Great teachers are flexible and do what is best for their students. Only you know your students and can meet them where they are in reading.
Now to the real fun: creating your library! Here’s how you can get started.
Finding Books for Your Elementary or Middle School Classroom Library
Books. You need many, many books. You need books on grade level, two levels below your grade level, and two levels above your grade level. You need a variety of genres. You need fiction, nonfiction, magazines, biographies, poetry, multicultural books [editor’s note: check out these tips on finding diverse books], holiday books, fairy tales, and books kids want to read! My students always loved my “star” books, which were my series books and books based on movies and toy characters. Think about what kids like—their favorite authors, favorite toys, favorite movies.
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