It is amazing to think that we are this far along in the process with the Classroom Library Project! The students have organized books into categories, topics, author, and series bins. They have made creative labels for the bins. Now it is time to think about where the gaps are in the titles and what books do students want to add to their wish lists. It is wonderful to see how students in every classroom that received a makeover took ownership in their library and made suggestions on how to fill the gaps. As you may have guessed in many of the libraries in an elementary classroom the fiction section is abundant and the nonfiction section is sparse. It is definitely not up to the standards of having 50% fiction 50% nonfiction. When talking with students some of the gaps that students wanted to fill were animals, sports, history, weird but true, graphic novels (not my favorite but it truly is theirs) and fantasy. So we set to work looking for the latest and greatest titles.
First, when looking for new engaging titles we started by having the school librarian come into the classroom and discuss her process for choosing new books and listened to her suggestions for new texts. After that, we went online to find some resources that would recommend books. Some of the places we visited were; Brightly, Mr. Schu Reads, The New York Times Children’s Book Section, Goodreads, Pernille Ripp’s Favorite Books, to name a few. Facebook is another resource; Units of Study in Reading, Pernille Ripp’s Passionate Readers Group and many more. Often teachers will pose specific needs when looking for books to fill a gap and within minutes other teachers share their favorite picks.
Once specific titles had been decided then the process started for the actual ordering of books for specific classroom libraries. In order to determine if certain texts are appropriate and interesting to students, I visit Common Sense Media. If you haven’t found Common Sense Media yet please stop and visit. This tool has many components to support educators, students, and families. Along with fantastic digital citizenship resources this online tool shares information on apps, books, and video games so that educators can decide if a book is engaging and appropriate for students. Please watch the screencastify to view the features available to educators on Common Sense Media. https://youtu.be/IRXrpPrgLbM
The last step is choosing a vendor. Booksource is an ordering website that I often use that has thousands of current titles and saves districts 25% on all titles. It is a great way to save money to buy more books! Please check back in to see the books as they arrive!