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Thursday, December 3, 2015

Classroom Libraries


As your classroom library grows it is a good idea to have a section of books clearly labeled with levels to help our students find just-right books.  Originally, I thought tubs of leveled books were just for our K-2 classrooms, but after working with our TCRWP Staff Developer, Alicia Luick,  at Mary Farmar Elementary this Fall, my thinking has changed. While the genre & favorite authors are still great tubs to have available, it is also important to also have some books in tubs marked by levels. These can be organized by level bands (see below). Students who continue to read books that aren't at their just-right level can more easily be directed to books that are right for them if the levels are clearly marked.

Other classroom library tips that our staff developer shared with us: 
  • 3rd - 5th grade students can get involved with organizing & categorizing the books. If students are involved with setting up the library, there will be more ownership and pride in keeping the library organized.
  • Keep your library fresh by keeping some books tucked away to add throughout the year. 
  • The levels of books should match the readers in your room. 

Text complexity Bands:
  • JKLM (Poppleton → Magic Treehouse)
    • Books are episodic, one story with an arc
    • Chapters that are connected - hold information across chapters
    • synthesis and determining importance
    • teach story structure
    • 3 syllable words
    • content-specific vocabulary
  • NOPQ (Amber Brown)
    • Ambivalent characters
    • Settings are “everyday” places
    • Multiple problems
    • Stay focused on main story arc (subplots can be confusing)
    • word phrases instead of just hard words
    • academic language to describe characters
  • RST (Winn Dixie, Terabithia)
    • Setting is profound and influential to the story
  • UVW (Number the Stars, Walk Two Moons)
    • Flashbacks and flashforwards
    • Symbolism


Check out these great examples of BUSD libraries that are clearly organized (Thanks Brian & Hale):

3rd Grade







5th Grade








Here are some additional resources from my Summer Institute 2014 leveled library session for K-2.




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