Classroom library? Nah, library classroom.

First of all, I LOVE to read. I always have and I’m 99.9% sure I always will. This past half school year, I taught all subjects. However, this year we are departmentalizing our second grade. I will only be teaching reading, English, writing, and phonics. That news made me feel like a kid in a candy store. All my favorite subjects!

Being a new teacher, I did not have a lot of books in my classroom when I started. Since then, I have done a DonorsChoose project, had people donate books to me, and bought a lot on my own. Seriously, if you are someone who has donated to me in any way, you have a special place in my heart forever.

I read somewhere that a classroom library should have close to 1,000 books. I believe it too! I don’t have nearly that many, but I’m working towards it.

Why would I want that many books?

I think it’s very important to expose kids to as many books as possible within the classroom. I love our school library, but I also wanted to build my own as large as I can get it. I knowΒ it will help with activities in the Daily 5 and during Guided Reading. It helps expose kids to books they may have previously not gotten to read and having books surround them in a loving environment creates a positive connection to books for them.

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I know a lot of people level their entire library. I honestly just don’t believe in that. I have one row Β of book bins in the above photo that are leveled by Guided Reading levels. These books are also not Reading Counts test books. I did that on purpose. I wanted the leveled books to be used specifically for tracking what level a child is on and also so that students learn to read books other than the ones they can take a test on. Their Reading Counts goals are important, but I feel exposing them to books that don’t have tests attached to them helps them to develop a love of reading instead of just thinking they need to pass a test to get points. They should be developing Β a love of reading and I aim to help them do that.

All of my other bins are organized based on book series, characters, and similar topics. They are numbered bins with corresponding numbers I will put on stickers on the front of the book so that my kids can easily put them back where they got them.

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In second grade, a lot of kids aren’t reading a lot of chapter books. However, when I had a few last year that definitely could read them and did read the ones I had in the classroom. I know when I was in second grade, I was reading chapter books and would have panicked if my teacher didn’t allow it. So, I went out of my way to make sure I also have enough chapter books in addition to picture books to challenge students and provide those high readers with what they need.

Knowing what reading level my students are on is important to me and helping them progress while developing their love of books is my goal. I never want students to feel like books are punishment or reading is boring. I never want to be a teacher that tells a child they have to read now because they didn’t at another time. To me that is completely detrimental when helping students develop their motivation to read. I never want to tell a child they have to read from a specific bin of books or that they can’t choose something slightly above their level because challenging themselves is a good thing. I only want books associated with positive things in my class. If a kid thinks reading is boring, I think they haven’t found the right book yet and hopefully I’ll help them find that right book.

The title of this post says library classroom instead of classroom library. That’s basically what I went for when designing my room. I didn’t want a specific area for books in my classroom. I have them literally everywhere. I did that because I wanted the kids in my class to associate books with positive things. I aim to make reading fun for them and to me, a variety of choices when it comes to books helps with that. I want to see kids when I ask them to get a book walking around the whole room searching for the perfect one just as if they were in a library.

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I do hope my future students develop a love of books and reading. I hope they remember that Miss Layfield made reading challenging and fun. I hope struggling readers in my class make that breakthrough and find a book that sparks their want to read. I hope all of my future second graders succeed in reaching their reading goals because reading is essential to the rest of their lives.

-Miss Layfield

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