Previous Book Room Posts
I seem to learn over and over again that being open to change and constant reflection is the only way to thrive in the education environment these days. Beginning the middle school literacy program during the 2012-2013 school year, it would be absolutely silly for me to have the attitude of "keep everything the same" and "what I did the first time is the right way". My mind is always churning with ways to make things more efficient, productive, etc. I also am pretty darn lucky to work with some of the most awesome language arts teachers around, who I am constantly having conversations with, getting feedback from, and learning from. Being reflective and collaborating with others, along with being open to change simply makes everyone's practices better. It also has positively impacted our middle school book room! :) We have made several additions and changes to our book room over the summer in preparation for the 2013-2014 school year. Below are pictures of the changes, along with some fun tips for any of you out there who are interested in creating a middle school book room and want to pick up a few ideas. Also, play close attention at the end for a link to my book room freebie that I created that includes titles organized alphabetically by levels, signs that can be printed out for the book room, checkout sheets for teachers who allow students to read parts of guided reading books outside of class, and book fine templates for if students lose a book from the book room.
A common question that I get is: How do you know the level of the books? My district uses Fountas and Pinnell's Literacy Collaborative Teaching framework, so we obviously level our books in the book room using F&P's leveling system. There is a place online to type in book information to find the titles:
Fountas and Pinnell Leveled Book Website
There is also a print resource titled, The Fountas and Pinnell Leveled Book List K-8+. The link to this item is below:
The Fountas and Pinnell Leveled Book List K-8+
Book Room Materials and Tips:
A huge change that our book room went through this summer is the addition of a literature study section. Once teachers learned about literature study during professional development this year and implemented it within their classrooms, students and teachers alike fell in love. The big difference between guided reading and literature study is guided reading has students grouped homogeneously while literature study has students grouped heterogeneously. The Literacy Collaborative intermediate framework recommends having both guided reading and literature study be part of small group reading instruction at the middle school level. The goal of literature study is to get students richly discussing text with one another. The books in the literature study section are not leveled because grouping is heterogeneous and literature study books are chosen because we feel they will bring up rich discussion. To see my blog post on how to set up literature study visit this link:
How to Implement Literature Study
Check out the pictures of our literature study section below. The literature study section is organized alphabetically by genre. Each genre is in a different colored book box and the label is color coded to match the book box for easier return.
The non-fiction section is red.
The realistic fiction section is green.
The Science Fiction/Fantasy section is blue.
The Historical Fiction section is yellow.
The Graphic Novel section is also yellow.
Updated pictures of our middle school book room are below:
Book room signs on book room use are hung in the book room. Pictures of these signs are below:
I keep the handouts below right in the book room so that teachers can just grab a copy and use if needed.
It's so fun to reflect back on where the book room started and where it is today. I also like to think about how it will continue to evolve in order to be the best possible resource it can be for small group reading instruction at the middle school level. As a huge thank you to my blog, TpT, Pinterest, Twitter, and Facebook followers, I have created a freebie that includes the titles organized alphabetically by level that are in our middle school book room, the sheets above about middle school book room use, book fine sheets, checkout sheets for classroom use, and the return bin labels pictured above that I laminated and taped onto small laundry baskets for book return.
I hope that more districts out there do what my district did and invest in a book room that can be a beyond incredible resource for teachers in providing small group reading instruction to students. To have to resources on hand in a place where book sets are leveled and right there is something that not many schools have. It's kind of like when you have an elliptical in your house versus at the gym. Everyone knows exercise is good for you and that you should do it, but if it's right there in your own home as a resource, you're so much more likely to do it and be successful. I feel like guided reading and literature study instruction is the same way. Teachers know that it's best for students and want to do it, but if the resource is not right there in the school organized by book sets and levels, it's much harder to organize and pull together on your own. I hope this post inspires more districts to take the plunge and create a book room!