Clara Maria Fiorentini
Looking after your class library
They are a prominent and long-standing feature in most Irish primary classrooms. Some are shelves, some are baskets, some are those little wooden bookcases with at least one wonky wheel. Whatever they resemble, they are needed, they are important and they deserve plenty of attention and TLC.
When it comes to keeping our library shelves inviting, enticing and relevant we need to keep our readers in mind.
A good classroom library should have 50+ texts. This should be a combination of familiar texts, unfamiliar texts and a variety of genres. The key is to invite children to return, re-read and recommend.
It's helpful to take a look at the library every so often and consider its contents.
We can get caught up in what the library area resembles, but really the most important goal is ensuring that that the children are actually interacting with the contents. Cosy spaces help, but it's the texts that matter most.
FAQ: How can we increase engagement with the class library?
- By peer or by teacher! Find a text you enjoyed? Recommend it.
Record your preferences
Keep it interesting and keep encouraging discussions. Create a tally or voting chart system (Flipchart page / clipboard) and pitch two books alongside one another. Invite the children to explore in their own time and vote. A natural invitation into making comparisons, reviewing, evaluating and justifying.
Organise the contents
Sort books by category to help the children choose and visually appreciate the categories and genres various texts belong to.
Download my library posters:
Download my library hygiene posters:
Displaying books with the cover facing forwards is actually less overwhelming that spine forwards. We're not supposed to judge books by their covers...but we often do it anyway! Think about what is going to help a child with the process of picking a book.
Just like the toys, books deserve rotation. Remove and replace, refresh and repeat! Even if it's just the invitation texts - a select few that stand on top of the library, or along the window ledge. Always thinking 'invitations'. More on book rotations here.
What supports are going to help the children as they read independently in class library? Creating a reading toolbox can invite and entice readers to keep trying and stay motivated in the library space. What can I add to a reading toolbox?
-Post-its for note-taking
-Mini-torches / finger torches