Literacy

Professional Development

April 7, 2018

Classroom Book Shopping

If you have been able to catch any of my Facebook lives last summer or even heard me present, you will always hear me talk honestly about book shopping. When I was in the classroom, I was always SO fearful of letting all of those little hands touch my books. After all, I had spent so much money on them. As time went on, a sweet colleague of mine taught me how she did book shopping and I finally got brave and tried it.

Book shopping in an elementary classroom can seem like a BIG task, but it doesn't have to be! Maybe you have put it off, like I did, for many years. But sharing all of your wonderful books with your kindergarten and first grade students is SO helpful! See how this teacher learned to simplify book shopping for her students.
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Now, in the spirit of being honest, I will say that while it worked WONDERFULLY, I didn’t stick with it. Looking back, I’m not sure why. Maybe it was because I was pregnant all year or maybe because I had a very busy kindergarten class that year—whatever the reason, it still wasn’t a good enough reason to stop. I should have pressed on and done it. Why? Because it’s SO powerful for kids! I saw it firsthand in my own kindergarten classroom!

So let’s talk about how you can make book shopping EASY to implement and EFFECTIVE in your classroom!

Step 1: Level and Organize Your Library

Real talk, my friends—this does take time, but it’s WORTH it! I promise! You can use the many apps and websites out there to figure this out if you need some help.

Some of my favorite tubs for storing the books are found right at the Target dollar spot! Mine have lasted years, honestly.

I also like these Sterilite tubs for storing books. I have used a combination of both for the most part!

Get the book tub labels HERE.

Step 2: Know Your Students’ Reading Levels.

You can gather this information by doing a running record during guided reading. Often times, most schools require you to do beginning of the year assessments to determine their reading levels. Once you have this information, you are going to know how to direct them when shopping.

Figuring out a guided reading schedule for your groups can seem tricky and can be confusing, but it doesn't have to be! Read about these 3 tips that will be sure to help you think through and give you some freedom in your groups!

Step 3: Make Shopping Cards

This is the genius part my friend taught me! Have your kids pick 3 books on their level, 2 books 1 level above, and 1 book that is their heart’s desire! For the last one, you can allow your students to pick books that aren’t necessarily leveled, but are in themed tubs instead. Your students will use their book shopping card to direct them in their shopping. As students move up reading levels, you simply create them a new card OR just cross out their previous level and write the new one on there. I liked using library pockets, which I laminated and taped onto the side of the tubs (similar found here) that the kids used for their book tubs.

Get a free card template FREE HERE if you’d like!Book shopping in an elementary classroom can seem like a BIG task, but it doesn't have to be! Maybe you have put it off, like I did, for many years. But sharing all of your wonderful books with your kindergarten and first grade students is SO helpful! See how this teacher learned to simplify book shopping for her students.

Step 4: Set Up a Routine

A good routine for us was coming in Friday mornings and allowing the students to go book shopping. I would dismiss them by tables and set a timer, otherwise, it was just chaos in our classroom library! The other students would work on their morning work.

Now you may be thinking, this sounds great, but what about the beginning of the year when I don’t know their levels yet? Great question! My suggestion would be to fill their book boxes for them with the first 5 books and then let them pick 1 book as you are slowly introducing book shopping. After all, they need their boxes filled so that you can practice independent reading for literacy stations, right?

My last piece of advice: Don’t be like me and wait forever! Do this now! Let them touch, feel, and READ those precious books.


Book shopping in an elementary classroom can seem like a BIG task, but it doesn't have to be! Maybe you have put it off, like I did, for many years. But sharing all of your wonderful books with your kindergarten and first grade students is SO helpful! See how this teacher learned to simplify book shopping for her students.

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Happy Teaching,

Amanda

EASILY PLAN YOUR K-2 READING SMALL GROUPS​

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Hi, I'm Amanda

I’m a K-1 teacher who is passionate about making lessons your students love and that are easy to implement for teachers.  Helping teachers like you navigate their way through their literacy block brings me great joy. I am a lifelong learner who loves staying on top of current literacy learning and practices. Here, you’ll find the tools you need to move your K-2 students forward!

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7 Responses

  1. Do you sort your books by level or topic? I’m at that part or not wanting them to use my books that I worked so hard to get. I’ve receny moved to AZ from OH and didn’t bring all my books out yet. But not liking my current library situation and just never taken the time to officially sort all my books. I have them all typed in a spreadsheet but struggling where to start to sort them best for the kids to use them and fall in love like me!

    1. Hi Summer!! The young teacher in me would say, “By level and topic!” I have sensed learned more and I think that sorting by topic is best! My 4th year of teaching I tried to sort them by level and it was a mess. Letting kids freely shop is so powerful! I actually should do an updated blog post about how my thinking along this topic has shifted. 🙂

      1. If they are sorted by topic, then do you mark the level somewhere on the book so when they take it they know they can have it? Or do you have them sorted both ways?

        1. Hi Alexis! I had them sorted both ways–levels and topics. 🙂 My books sorted by topics were not sorted by levels. I had MOST of my books sorted by topics because it was tough to sort them by levels. Also, as I have grown and learned more about kids selecting books, I am learning that we should let them pick books however they please. I would probably do this differently if I were in the classroom right now. 🙂 Just being honest!!

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