Have you seen the #KidsNeedBooks movement? It was a small gesture that turned into a Twitter hashtag movement by author Ann Braden. A number of authors have jumped on board giving away free stacks of their books to teachers so that they can, in turn, give them to students for reading over the summer. The heart of this movement is to help kids avoid the summer slide.
Booksource, an educator’s best friend in the book department, has also been tweeting about how to help students enjoy summer reading and avoid the summer slide. Their infographic that explains how to stop the summer slide inspired me to write this post. Based on student reading personality, we’ve put together a list with links to their Amazon page. Please know that some of these links are affiliate links, and if you choose to make a purchase we will be compensated at no extra cost to you.
As a career-long middle school teacher, and wanting to incorporate some high school titles, I asked my friend Melissa Kruse from Reading and Writing Haven to help curate this list of titles. With our own students in mind, we created each category based on popular book choosing habits. Any of the titles that are meant for a more mature audience have an (HS). We hope your students, or children, enjoy their summer of reading!
For the student….
Who has read EVERY book on the shelf
Who says he/she “hates” reading
Who likes a visual
Who likes their plots twisty
Who likes a good belly laugh and ugly cry
Who wants to go on an adventure
Who wants to figure out “who done it”
Who likes a happy ending
Who wants to travel back in time
Who wants to join a revolution
Who likes their characters out of this world
Who always has a good joke
Who saw the movie first
Who needs to see the relevance
Who is a mathematician
Who loves science
Who enjoys art and music
Who is an athlete
Who wants to be in the military
Who is “outdoorsy”
Who likes apocalyptic fiction
Who has always wanted to live in a castle
Who enjoys Christian lit
Who needs pictures to stay engaged
Reading over the summer is imperative for students’ development. Teachers can partner with parents to increase the likelihood that it will happen. Send home this recommended reading list and a few tips for how parents can help students enjoy reading. Teachers can also take students to the library so that they can browse the shelves and create their own summer reading list.
If you’d like tips on how to create more of a literacy culture in your classroom, read Melissa’s post on how to run a classroom book club. For a set of FREE Notice and Note annotation bookmarks and other great resources join the TeachMomRepeat newsletter.
Help add to our list of summer reading novels in the comments! What book is always checked out in your classroom? What book did you teen talk about endlessly?
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An eighth-grade teacher’s classroom library is where I found my favorite book, Goodbye Paperdoll. She had a closet-sized classroom, but still felt it was important enough to sacrifice the space for bookshelves that lined the back wall. If you, too, are a language arts teacher with a major book obsession as embodied in your own classroom library, you’ll want to check out this amazing resource I found and have been using since 2011.
Booksource.com launched Classroom Organizer as a free online classroom library checkout and return system for teachers, and it has made all the difference in my classroom. When I started teaching in 2001 I had collected a small library and kept track through index cards. Each month I would add books through Scholastic book orders and bonus points, but I was terrible about using the index card system. There was too much I needed to do for the system to be effective, and by effective I mean keeping track of books that traveled to and from my classroom. One summer I thought I’d trade up to a spreadsheet that students could enter book information for themselves, but that quickly became a true nightmare. Then one afternoon I was scrolling through iTunes, searching for new teacher apps and the heavens parted when I saw a free app called Classroom Organizer.
This FREE resource has revolutionized my classroom library! At the time I had a student helper, so I created an account and put her straight to work scanning in my 1200 plus classroom library. Back then there wasn’t much to the system beyond the title, author, ISBN, and book cover photo. Now, Booksource offers you a number of options to really get the best out of your library. If you’re ready to transform your classroom library then check out these features and tips for using the Classroom Organizer. Want a FREE editable poster to show students how to use your new online book checkout system? Sign up for the TMR newsletter!
Making it work for your classroom library
First, you’ll need to create an account. When creating your account keep in mind that students will be using the username and password to access the student page. Capitalization counts here! Originally I was not married when I created my account, MissBBooks, and it was not a difficult task to have my username changed, however, I did have to contact the website to make the change. Changing the password can be done on your own. I always make my password the room number. This makes it easier for students.
Once you have an account, the website will walk you through the features of your dashboard to give you a full picture of what the site offers. Before you start adding books, be sure to visit the Preferences page found on the Your Account page. Here you will be able to list any genres you want to include. In order for these to be part of the drop-down menu in your library check the Genre box under Library Data, but be sure the Fiction/Nonfiction box is not also checked. I suggest looking through all of the details that you can provide with each book, like the genre, location, condition, lexile, etc. and decide what labels you feel will truly benefit your classroom. I have never kept up with the conditions, but I would like students to know the lexile of a book and where it belongs in my classroom. The problem here is that these are updates for me, so in order to add them I would have to input this for each individual book; with more than 3,000 books being housed in my classroom that’s a ton of time updating. It’s my advice to make these decisions before you begin! As you input books you can add these options from the website. Books are organized alphabetically by title, so once you get a number of your books into the system you’ll want to search the title to make those additions.
When you’re ready to add titles I would suggest using a laptop and scanner, if you have access to one. This is a quicker method when the book doesn’t have an ISBN number or fails to pick up information, like the author or book cover. Using a device with a camera is an option, but it will not show you the detail that the website provides.
Once you have scanned in your library there are a number of reports to help you make new book decisions. For example, you can see what genres you have very little of and start adding more. You can even create a wish list of books to share with parents! Need help finding titles? Read my post on 50+ Summer Reading Recommendations, they aren’t just for summer.
One of the other great new features is Teacher Resources. Booksource has provided lesson ideas for thousands of titles and gives you FREE access to them. You’ll notice a small TR maroon circle in your library view.
Using this system has made it so much easier for me to keep track of books, see what kids are reading, and find new teaching ideas. Some of my voracious readers even added the app to their phones to make check out faster! Let me know how the Classroom Organizer works for your classroom. Don’t forget to subscribe to our exclusive teacher newsletters for a FREE poster to help students with the login and check out process, among other great free printables.
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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.
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