Tricks of the Trade Thursdays: Classroom Library Organization

Yesterday Miss Lifesaver had a great post about Student Book Recommendations, and she sparked an idea for something that has been pinging around in my brain.  Just last week before I closed out my classroom, I finished reorganizing my classroom library.  So this morning when I signed on and saw that Jessica over at Joy in the Journey was having a linky about classroom libraries, I had to jump on the linky wagon to rerun a few pictures and share my Book Recommendation form.
Read 180 Library
For those of you not familiar with Read 180, it is a Scholastic reading intervention program.  Not only does it come with a consumable reader and a consumable language practice workbook, but it has a class library of leveled (by Lexile) fiction and non-fiction books.  They come in nice blue crates that stack to act as shelves.  They are nice for the first five years, then they start leaning.

Add the System 44 (a phonics Scholastic intervention program) books, and you have a lot of books to deal with and to keep organized.

The main problem was that the majority of the books are thin, really thin.  So after they gathered around the posters with the titles and levels to pick their next book (for an always productive traffic jam), it was almost impossible for them to find the title they were looking for in the crates.

Problem 1: Poster Traffic Jam
I took the posters and cut them up...shhh!  Don't tell Scholastic.  I put 3-4 books on a page. 

 Then I slipped them into sheet protectors, and sorted them by Lexile levels into binders.
In the back of each binder are the Graphic Organizers and QuickWrites that go with those books.  This part was done the last month of school, and it made it so much easier for the kids to decide on a book.  Plus, no more traffic jam at the board.

Problem 2: Finding the Books
Note: If you are a Scholastic Read 180 spy, do not read the following portion
After school was out, and I could really spread out in the classroom, I removed all the books from the crates.  Then I pried out (had to get some help for that part) the blue dividers and put the System 44 books into clear shoe box containers.  I used the cannibalized blue dividers to divide the books. The labels are not made yet.
Then I used my Ikea loot to organize the Read 180 audio books and regular books.

The audio books are in the turquoise folders.  I used packing tape to join two of the magazine holders together - CDs in one and novels in the other.  Again, the labels are not made yet.  See the blue dividers in the magazine holder boxes on the second and bottom shelf to the right?  They worked perfectly in those too!  Score!  The blue basket on the top shelf is going to be for returns.
If you want to see more about my other fascinating shelves, please check out my prior post on Library Organization.

Book Recommendation Form
Like I said, Miss Lifesaver's post yesterday helped me finalize this idea.  
The idea is to have a binder with alphabetical tab dividers to keep these organized and available for students as they consider their next reading choice.  I want them to be able to share their recommendations once a week in small group, and then they will go in the binder. 

Please go over to Joy in the Journey, link up and share your own classroom library organization tips!


  1. Our Read 180 materials live in the resource room. I love how you organized it though! Very resourceful.

    Suntans and Lesson Plans

    1. Thanks! The notebooks worked well. I hope by ditching the crates and putting them in organizers on the shelves that it will be easier (and faster) for this year's bunch to make their reading choices. We will see:)

  2. I love the idea of the book recommendation form! Great idea, I grabbed it, thanks!
    Creating Lifelong Learners

  3. Your book recommendation form is WAY cuter than mine. I need to step it up! haha

    1. Nonsense! Mine is a sneaky way to keep track of they are reading during Independent Reading time:)

  4. I have been teaching READ 180 for 5 years and ditched the crates a few years ago. Worked wonders for us! The idea of putting the "posters" into a binder by Lexile is sheer genius! Bless your heart! =D

    1. Thank you! The books were so hard to keep straight in those crates! And I hated the way they crowded around those posters trolling for their next book:). The binders really worked well! Get out your scissors! Great to hear from another Read 180 teacher!!