The two main challenges with a classroom library seem to be making it cozy and inviting yet easily accessible, and keeping it organized. Here are some thoughts on both.
Make It Inviting
Most kids love cozy spaces. Ideally, your class library should be in a corner of your room, away from the door and the sink. A rug is a must. Bean bags, big pillows, cozy chairs, or even a couch will really add to the space. I’ve also seen lofts, tents, tepees, and hanging curtains or beads to help make the space special and different from the rest of the classroom. Using furniture such as a low, sturdy bookshelf to divide the space from the rest of the room is also a good strategy. Decorate the walls with something interesting. Some possibilities:
- Dust jackets from your favorite books.
- Quotes from your favorite books (poster or banner size).
- Book posters – there always seem to be some from the Scholastic Book Clubs.
- Photos of your students reading together.
- Construction paper circles with the names of books kids have read (they write the titles and put them up themselves; you just need to have the circles available).
- One year I decorated with five colorful clocks set (and labeled) to different times around the world. The words that went with them were, “There’s Always Time for a Good Book.”
Keep It Organized
If you have a lot of books (and hopefully you do), then keeping things organized is likely to be a challenge. Here are some thoughts:
- Labeled bins work really well, even for older kids.
- Rain gutters nailed to the wall can also be used to display books.
- You’ll need a check-out system of some sort. There are some good ideas at Kim’s Korner for Teacher Talk.
- The class library is a great place for class books (books in which each student has contributed a page).
- You can also encourage kids to recommend books to each other with a Class Book Review Notebook. Use a 3-ring binder and a simple and fun-to-fill-out book review sheet. You can get a free one here. Encourage students to add their reviews as they finish books, grouping them alphabetically.
Call your class library something inviting like The Book Nook or The Reading Corner.
Looking for more class library ideas? Check out the linky party at The Sweet Life in Third Grade!