Your library is the heartbeat of your classroom. It is the area where students get to explore their own interests. Additionally, it is where students get to relax and see how exciting books are. Honestly, this is the single most important area of the classroom. Therefore, you must spend time analyzing your classroom library. It is crucial to make sure that books are appropriate for students while showing them how magical books are.
Student Opinions Toward Reading
Your emphasis on your library can indirectly impact students’ attitudes toward reading. If you are not excited about it, your students will likely not be excited. Similarly, if you do not show pride in your library or want to spend time in it, neither will your students. Honestly, we have a significant impact on student opinions toward reading. You need to show students how amazing it is when you get time to pick out a book and sit down and explore the pages.
Strong Classroom Library
Classroom libraries are hard to build. Teachers should not have to spend their own money on books for the classroom. However, having a solid classroom library is essential. If students do not have choices to meet their different interests, they will think books do not apply to what they like. This is absolutely not the case! There are books out there for every interest, hobby, and topic! So, search garage sales, library sales, FB group donations, and Scholastic book clubs for sales. These are great options for buying lots of books at reasonable prices.
Work-a-Round to a Classroom Library
Sadly, some teachers are unable to create their own library. This may be a school policy or due to a limited budget. However, this should not stop students from reading books. Instead, the school library needs to become your best friend. You MUST make it a priority to take students to the library. They need ample opportunities to go throughout the week to find books. This time will prove to them how excellent books are.
Aspects to Consider
Does having lots of books mean a strong classroom library? Not necessarily! There are other aspects you want to consider when building and analyzing your classroom library.
1. Old versus New
You want to have a balance of new versus older published books. This means there are various topics, writing styles, and illustrations. Essentially, you are offering students tons of choices.
2. Variety of Genres
Every student has different interests. However, they may have only explored fiction and nonfiction books. So, it is crucial to offer a variety of genres, such as poetry, historical, and graphic novels.
While students may say they prefer fiction or nonfiction, chances are they have not explored other genres. Thankfully, the Genre Activities to Find the Magic in Reading will help students explore other options! These print-and-go activities help motivate students to dive into different genres! Students will love to showcase their learning through this exploration.
Organization is critical when analyzing your classroom library! You want students to quickly find the books they are looking for. Organizational ideas include genre, topic, author, and series. These are great ways to help students see all the books they want to read. Honestly, it is also so helpful when putting books away!
4. Representation of ALL students
Do you have representation of ALL of your students in your classroom? If not, now is the time to update with more diversity. Your library needs to reflect the population of your students. In other words, the books must represent ALL students. It is helpful to use the analyzing chart when performing a quick audit. This is a great way to ensure you have the needed representation.
While analyzing your classroom library, you can also get rid of unwanted books to make room for new ones. You may donate ones you no longer want or set them aside to rotate them throughout the years. Either way, students must find books that reflect who they are.
5. Showcasing Select Books
How do you highlight special books throughout the year? How are you getting students excited about your library and drawing them in? For instance, do you have a spot where you showcase books based on an upcoming holiday or special day? If not, now is the perfect time to create this spot! Students will be eager to see the new options in the showcase spot.
Honestly, the classroom library is one of the most impactful areas of the classroom. It allows students to learn more about themselves, their community, and upcoming events. Additionally, it is the perfect way to motivate students to become independent readers while showing them their growth. Be sure to check out Perfecting Independent Reading when analyzing your classroom library. It will help ensure students see the magic and adventure behind each book.
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