What is a Classroom Library?
The Classroom Library is a powerful tool to support all students' literacy development.
The compelling reasons for establishing a Classroom Library are in it's potential to:
- Build a strong culture of reading success and enjoyment within the classroom
- Build strong and positive reading habits and attitudes
- Enable students to develop life long book selection strategies
- Allow every child to see themselves represented in the collection and be valued as a reader
- Give every child, every day, ready access to books, time to read, choice to motivate, engage and inspire them
- Enable every child, every day, to know that reading every day is what makes good readers, good readers.
How to create a Classroom Library
- Create a dedicated and inviting space
- Organise for books to be displayed in inviting ways: with covers facing out, sorted into categories/themes/genres in labelled baskets, on book shelves
- Secure a budget to buy books for your classroom library
- Have your students choose books from the school library to add to the classroom library
- Involve your students in curating, organising, sorting, maintaining, growing and managing their Library
- Keep a wish list of books students would like in their library to ensure they see themselves represented in this place
- Organise for each student to have a personal Book Box/Bag/Wallet to store books borrowed from the classroom library so that they can continue to read the books daily during Independent Reading and Home reading.
The Department for Education, South Australia, understands the critical role classroom libraries play in establishing an effective reading program that leads to school improvement.
Teacher actions to set up positive conditions for a classroom reading program are:
- Curate a class library so that students have access to a broad range of reading materials
- Source resources that are inclusive and representative of the class linguistic and cultural make up as well as their personal interests
- Involve students in curating the materials by re-sorting them into different categories at the end of each term
- Allow students to choose the categories and create labels for the book baskets/boxes.
School Improvement Guidebook: Build Foundations, p9
Department for Education, Government of South Australia
Resources to help you
Snowball & Bolton provide an extensive list to help you create an effective classroom library to ensure your students have the best opportunity to access reading material to become motivated, engaged and competent readers.
This checklist guides you through:
- Designing a Classroom Library
- Nature of the Collection
- Size of Collection and Organisation
Designed as a checklist, it's an easy way to be guided through the process of ensuring your classroom library is ready for every reader in your classroom.
'The efforts placed into creating an inviting atmosphere for a classroom library corner is rewarded by children's increased interest in reading and reading achievement.' (Coody & Huck)
Now, off to the classroom!