I apologize now if my post makes anyone mad at me... I hope to just put something out there to think about. I've blogged about this before because I'm super passionate about it! So, if you've been a follower for a while, it may sound familiar.
My school uses AR, which I have a love/hate relationship with anyway.
When I started out as a teacher, I had my library organized by AR color.
It was super easy.
I bought white baskets. I bought spray paint. I laid the baskets out across my driveway and spray painted them.
Then I put all the books at "level yellow" in the yellow basket and so on.
The books all had colored dots that correlated to the color of the basket.
SO easy! Easy to organize. Easy for the kids to put them away. And easy for the kids to know right away who was always having to go to the yellow basket because they weren't "good enough" at reading to be in red, where most of my kiddos were at the end of 2nd grade.
Also, very easy to teach kids that the only thing we need to consider when choosing a book to read is the level it is written at.
I started hearing kids policing each other about what color they should be reading based on which basket they were hovering around.
And kids not caring about what they were reading... as long as it was in their color basket.
I had a lightbulb moment.
I wasn't teaching my kiddos (2nd graders at that time) to love reading... I was teaching them to read words on a page, regardless of their interest, because the book was deemed to be "their color".
So, I re-organized my library.
I made baskets about interests or with books written by a certain author or about certain topics or characters.
Within each basket, the reading levels are all mixed up.
My students have to think about what they want to read first. Then, what is appropriate for their reading level, is second.
It's still easy to organize. My baskets are all numbered and each book has a sticker with the corresponding number. All Captain Underpants books are in basket 20. All books about math ideas are in 35. Science books are in 18. Animal books are in 17... I LOVE seeing them get excited about all of the baskets in my library. I love that they look through baskets together. They see books their friends might enjoy and they talk about them.
I love that they have to be aware of what is appropriate reading material for their individual abilities... but they don't have to base their decisions around that idea! When I choose books for myself, I don't always choose things at my level... and I gravitate toward my interests first, of course!
I believe that this change has helped my students be more aware of WHY we read and has helped develop an enjoyment for reading... of course it helps that my library is HUGE with a wide variety of reading materials! It's my pride and joy and the thing I poured the most money into when I was getting it up and running!
So, what do you think? How is your library organized?
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