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WHAT WORKS IN EDUCATION The George Lucas Educational Foundation

Edutopians on the Importance of a Classroom Library

Betty Ray

Director of Programming and Innovation
Related Tags: K-2 Primary

In a previous post, Edutopia.org blogger Heather Wolpert-Gawron shared some inspirational (and practical) ideas for getting students engaged in the classroom library. Turns out, the Edutopia community has lots of great suggestions, too. Check them out, or add your own, in her post "The Importance of a Classroom Library."

You'll find tons of creative ideas here -- from organizational suggestions to money-saving tips and playful reading games that inspire kids' imaginations.

Betty Ray

Director of Programming and Innovation
Related Tags:

Comments (18)Sign in or register to postSubscribe to comments via RSS

Aubrey 's picture
Anonymous (not verified)

Classroom libraries couldn't be more important in today's classrooms. They provide students with a great deal of opitions when it comes to different literature. It can push students to choose other types of books that they may not have tried reading in the past. It also always for us as teachers to pull many different resources if necessary.
However, I find that it can be a difficult thing to have in the classroom as well. Students tend to loose interest in what I have in the library or always use the excuse that they can't find anything the intersts them. I really liked Heather's suggestion about having student "search" for a book like a hunt. This might encourage a student to read a book they have never seen. One thing that I am wondering is how many books you should have in a classroom library? Just starting out its hard to have a good selection, but I wonder how much I should add.

Ann Billock's picture
Anonymous (not verified)

I am a 3rd year teacher at an elementary school in Austintown Ohio and I am currently trying to expand on my classroom library and the suggestions that Heather Wolpert-Gawron gave were very helpful. I had never thought that much about the different types of readers that she listed, but they make sense. Thanks for all the additional tips from other bloggers! We are implimenting a new program in our language arts block from the books The Daily Five and The Cafe. Anyone familar with the program. Please share any ideas.

Ann Billock

LaWanda Burgoyne's picture
Anonymous (not verified)

Your classroom library should be as large as you can make it! I teach 9th grade English in Dover, Delaware and am only starting my third year teaching, but I have found that the more books I have, the more genres, the less likely I am to hear that they aren't interested. Think outside the bookstore on this one too, go to garage sales, swap meetings, look in the bargain bin at the bookstore, etc. You may even have younger relatives or friends with children who are willing to donate books. I am lucky that I have three very avid young readers in my household, so once a book has gone around the family as much as it will here, all of our books go to the classroom. I agree with Heather Wolpert's assertion that the only good death for a book is when it is read too much.

Heather WolpertGawron's picture
Anonymous (not verified)

OK, if you haven't already, you've GOT to check out Donalyn Miller's The Book Whisperer blog through Teacher Magazine (and her book via Amazon). http://blogs.edweek.org/teachers/book_whisperer/

She's fabulous. She is all about literacy and has a true gift. Her classroom library fills her room and leaks out into the closet opposite her room. She writes beautifully, and one can only imagine what it's like to be submerged in her classroom as a student, breathing in the air of the books on the shelves. Sometimes reading desire is about osmosis. Make it part of the very air they breath.
Thanks for commenting.
-Heather Wolpert-Gawron

Monty Harrison's picture
Anonymous (not verified)

I teach secondary business education and my students have access to the internet, allowing my students access to an unlimited amount of library use. Our school library also has purchased online audio books in which the students and the staff have unlimited access. I have found these useful when driving down the high-way and they are also useful when conducting field trips, students will sometimes get so caught up in the audio book that they would prefer to stay on the bus than participate in the field trip. I have also found several of the bus drivers wanting to listen to the audios rather than accompanying the group. Even though I have unlimited access, I still enjoy shopping and purchasing a good book , in addition I to like taking my books to school and allowing students to utilize some of my non business resource material.
Monty Harrison

Edith W.'s picture
Anonymous (not verified)

Classroom libraries are great. When I was student teaching my co-operating teacher had one of the best classroom libraries. She would keep all genres of books and change them out quarterly so the students wouldn't get burnt out or have the excuse that they read all the books already. The amount of books in the library is going to depend on what you have. We always kept our own books and checked out books from the school library to add to the class library. Then returned those and got new ones. A class library does not only have to be your books.

Allison Larson's picture
Anonymous (not verified)

I love the idea of having a check in-check out system for the classroom library. I know initially, it would take quite a lot of set up, but I think ultimately, it would be beneficial. I had a hard time keeping up with what each child has and in which hands each book is. I love literature and try to incorporate some aspect of it in most lessons. I find by having such and extensive library at my fingertips, I have the ability of grabbing resources throughout the day. I also believe the bigger, the better. I don't think anyone can have too many books. However, they must be kept somewhat organized. I have teacher with whom I work that have multiples of several books because they couldn't find a particular one, or because they didn't even know they had it. Organization is key, and I think that having a library system would be a huge help with that.

Heather WolpertGawron's picture
Anonymous (not verified)

I've mentioned this in the past, but you might want to check out my review of this product if you are an iPhone user: http://tweenteacher.com/?s=lendme. It's a great classroom library lending program. Hope it helps, and thanks for the comment!
-Heather Wolpert-Gawron

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