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Reading in the Wild: Curating a Classroom Library

This week we are discussing how to curate a classroom library.  This has always been my favorite part of my classroom, so I am excited to see everyone else's libraries!  I am always looking to improve mine in order to make it the most useful for my students.  Today's book study is hosted by Lessons with Laughter and Being Ladylike.

Lessons with Laughter     

As a teacher, one of my absolute favorite things to do is purchase books for my students to read.  As Miller suggests, I choose books based on my students' interest and reading levels.  I also take into account books that are popular or have won awards.

On the flip-side, I have a very difficult time getting rid of books.  Because, well, they're books!  Miller says we should discard books that are "MUSTIE;" Misleading, Ugly, Superseded, Trivial, Irrelevant or Elsewhere.  She has a point, but I'm still not sure that I can do it!

Last year, I had one of my reading classes do a "genre sort" at the beginning of the school year.   I placed genre posters on desks around the room and then we took ALL the books out of the classroom library.  Students walked around and placed the books with the genre poster that categorized the book.  It got students discussing why books belonged in certain categories.  This also gave me a quick glimpse into what students did and did not know about genre.  And the library was organized in under 45 minutes!

{Genre posters courtesy of Ginger Snaps}

This year, one of my plans is to sit down with my reading classes to discuss library expectations.  I did this every year in second grade, but assumed that students knew my rules in 5th grade.  I think it's important to make it a discussion, rather than a lecture.  We need to let students know that it is their library too.

To follow up my genre sort activity, I plan to spend a few weeks teaching genre and characteristics.  Miller also offers a "guess my genre" activity.  She places a tub of books in front of small groups of students.  Based on what they've learned, the students need to figure out which genre the books are.

What does your classroom library look like?  How do you organize it?  How do you introduce your students to it?  Share your ideas by linking up below!


  1. I love your idea of the genre sort. I feel like it would have the same effect as my tedious sorting process, but in a MUCH shorter period of time.

    I also have a really hard time getting rid of books, and I will be working on it this year.

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