So I just read Joan Moser’s article about organizing and maintaining her classroom library. Sounds good - she suggests having books organized by topic, labeling bins w/the names of the topics, and putting a corresponding sticky on each book in the library. I am wondering if she is suggesting doing away with having books organizing by reading level. In my room I have used a combination of these two things. I’d like to hear what others are going.
I think for the classroom library that students have access to, the non-leveling choices are the most appropriate. Now, you might keep those leveled books in a place for you to access them for your groups. The thinking is that we want kids to develop the sense of “good-fit” books by choosing them from non-leveled books. There are great lessons for helping kids develop that skill, so that when they go to the library (school or public), they’ll be able to choose books there, as well.
Joan tells the story of helping a student in her class and his mom get cards for the public library and arranged for them to be able to catch the bus to go there. When she saw him after the library visit, she asked him what books he had checked out, he said, “None, they didn’t have any blue tubs.” She says that really helped her become convinced that sorting by topics was the better way.
For the last two summers, I have been reorganizing my Grade 3 classroom library into different topics and genres and I love it (thank you Joan, Gail, Steven Layne and Donalyn Miller)! This summer, I am weeding 8 “levelled” tubs into the appropriate topics and genres (my students rarely read those books because they were levelled)! I loved the articles earlier this month re: weeding books from your library. Although I have no problem with this overall, I wonder about certain classics. For example, I love “The Little House” series by Laura Ingalls Wilder; however, I feel very uncomfortable reading them aloud to my students, especially the book “Little House on the Prairie” since it contains several derogatory references to Native American/First Nations people. Although I choose not to read these aloud, I do have them in my classroom library. Although I don’t believe in censoring books, should books like these have a place in a Grade 3 classroom library? A few students have signed them out to read but have never questioned the content. Any suggestions as to what I should do? Keep or weed?
As you say, they are classics, and I think you should feel free to keep them in your classroom library. I agree that there are many children who enjoy them, and there really is a lot of history to be gleaned from them. I think you are wise not to choose them as read-alouds, but see no problem in having them available for you students to select.
Question: what do you do when your school culture is AR driven, and AR scores are on the report card?
First, I’d say google articles on AR not done by the parent company that give different perspectives of the problems with the concept, and share those with the appropriate people :).
Students could read their AR books during R to S then take the quiz (if the quizzes are a requirement). If possible, quietly stop giving the quizzes.
Be sure that students have lots of other books in their book bags/boxes so they don’t become only AR readers.
In rely to SBodely…Well, I’ve done both and this year I’m ditching the level labels and I’m not going back. I love having it organized by subject and favorite authors! I have done a lot of reading about the subject and personally, I want kids to know what fits and think about why they chose what they chose and figure out if they can comprehend what they are reading. I don’t want them thinking of themselves as a number. I also want them to grab more books on the subject, or find more of their favorite author without hunting around for the level. It does and will take me time to really organize it well, but it will be a work in progress. I guess what set me off was a kid who wanted more Magic Tree House books, I knew I had a ton, they were just really hard to find in their numbered AR tubs! I was also doing the Daily 5 training and sort of switched over late last year.
The story of her student at the public library was one on my biggest AHAs of Daily5!