This summer my classroom library got a makeover. Mostly because it gained another 1,000 books! I’ve taken over the classroom of a retired teacher who left her beloved library behind for my students to continue to enjoy. I’m beyond grateful for this kind of gifting, and I’m having a fabulous time getting to know some of the new books. I can’t wait to introduce them all to my students.
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3 Engaging Ideas to Share Your Classroom Library
Let me share a few ways I’ve discovered to help share all the different books living in my classroom library.
Show and Tell Book Style:
This is exactly what it sounds like, ask students to find a book in your library that they have read and enjoyed. Give students a few minutes to think about or write what they remember liking about the book and two highlights from the story. Students can then share them with the whole class or in small groups for a less intimidating audience.
Sail the Stacks:
This activity takes a little set up and works well when desks are in small groups. Start by creating stacks of 8-12 books of the same genre. Choose books that tend to be popular within the genre and are great representations of the genre. You could add genre labels to each table, or simply place a sticky note on the stack. Write on the board or announce, “If you were shipwrecked on an island and found a crate of books that contained only one genre of books what genre would you want it to be?” Have them “visit” that island and allow them a few minutes to talk about the stack. Add a “rowboat” and allow them to travel to a different island.
It’s similar to the concept of Speed dating. I always like to share this funny eHarmony commercial to introduce the activity. This activity also takes some set up. I have tried this with several different desk formations, but a circle works best.
We start by talking about the things that “attract” us to books. That leads to a discussion about how we make the decision to read the book. We write the list of options on the board. The list usually includes ideas like the cover (kids almost always say this first), favorite authors, reading the back to see if it spikes interest, reading a page in the book and a number of others.
You’ll want to have pre-stacked books on student desks in no particular order. I like to choose books that get a lot of traffic throughout the year, books that I’ve purchased over the summer, or books that I think often get overlooked. Obviously, I can’t show them all my books, but this is a great way for them to get a cross-section of what’s available. So be sure to provide all the different genres represented in your library, as well as reading levels.
Students are then given a sheet to record any titles they find interesting. This sheet is kept in their binder so when they finish a book they have a place to go for ideas about what to read next. The idea for keeping a Future Reading List came from Donnalynn Miller‘s books, The Book Whisperer and Reading in the Wild. Whenever a student is taking their good ‘ol time searching for a new book I like to direct them to their list to speed up the process.
If this sounds like something you’d like to do in your classroom find all of the directions and forms to print in my Teachers Pay Teachers store. I’ve updated this product to include a record sheet for the more visual learners in the form of an Instagram feed. Students can draw or copy the book cover into the square and then caption why they think it’s interesting. This keeps students occupied when there aren’t interesting books in the stack for them.
Do you have a great idea for sharing books with your students? Share them in the comments below.