Some of the most important work of teaching takes place before the first day of school. Each week, we'll be sharing fantastic tips to give you some great ideas for the school year ahead!

Back-to-school Tip #2: Create a classroom library that is a special place for your students.

“...think of the library in your room as the heart of effective literacy instruction." — D. RAY REUTZEL AND PARKER C. FAWSON (2002)

A classroom library should serve five major functions:

1. Support literacy instruction

2. Help students learn about books

3. Provide a central location for classroom resources

4. Provide opportunities for independent reading and curricular extensions

5. Serve as a place for students to talk about and interact with books

Some teachers put their library front and center, making it the focus of their classroom. Others set aside a special corner for their library, where students can enjoy some quiet reading time. Either way, the idea is to entice children and foster their love of reading.

Organizing and Labeling Books

A typical classroom library contains a variety of books, both fiction and nonfiction, leveled for readers of different abilities. The way you set up, organize, and label your library can help students make better, more appropriate book selections (Reutzel and Fawson, 2002). It also helps students return books to the right place, saving you time and keeping the area neat.

It’s also a great idea to have separate section of labeled books, where each book bin may be labeled from A-J for example. Scaffolding the books allows the children to make smarter reading choices.

Creating a Special Space

Personalizing the classroom library area such as adding some pillows or comfortable chairs enhances the space and encourages students to become more active participants in the library.

For more back-to-school ideas and helpful tips check out these resources:

The New Teacher’s Complete Sourcebook: Grades K-4

Classroom Management: 24 Strategies Every Teacher Needs to Know

Learning to Teach...not just for beginners