The library is the heart of your classroom. The more books kids have in their classroom is the largest predictor of success. Kids should take pride in their library and become owners it. One of the things I was most proud of as a teacher, is when a colleague came into my room to borrow a book, the kids could tell the colleague where to find it, because they knew how to use the library so well. I had them help me make it. Our library also evolved as the year went on. My amazing co-teacher and I would hide books in the closet. When a new unit came up, we would bring out the new books and reinvigorate the library again. For example when the series unit in second grade came around, my secret stash of series books emerged. Think of Barnes and Noble. Barnes and Noble always has some books out in front. In October they may be Halloween books, in September they are “back to school” books. You can always have the unit you are working on displayed front and center. Nonfiction time, think about where your nonfiction books are. During emergent story books, have them from and center etc… Guess what unit my friends at P.S. 280 are on, given their front book shelf…
L.O.V.E. comes from an amazing literacy coach I am lucky to work with in Highland Creek Elementary school in Charlotte, NC (thanks Marcy).
L- labeled – Make the labels with the kids. Introduce them to baskets and have them decide on the factors all the books have in common so what the basket should be labeled. Make sure the labels are visible (facing out) so the kids can see them.
O- organized- Leveled books go together, nonfiction together, series etc… There should never be a question as the where to look for a book.
V- visible – Make sure the labels face out, pictures help, especially for Kindergarten. Libraries deserve prime real estate! Make it the highlight of your classroom.
E – easy to access – Think about eye level of the kids. Think about obstacles in the way. We want kids to be able to take and return books with ease, vertical limitations and all.