Second Grade Nest: Reorganizing My Classroom Library

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Reorganizing My Classroom Library

Last year, when I taught 2nd grade, we had a big genre unit at the beginning of the year. It was only fitting that my book library would be sorted by genre and theme. However, in first grade, when the students are still learning how to read words, they are struggling to read the book bin theme/genre to figure out which category they want.

So... I decided to completely revamp my classroom library. I went with the A.R. (Accelerated Reader) points. If you aren't familiar with A.R., it is a computer program that the students can enter in their book title or book number and take a comprehension quiz on the book they just read. 

Here was my week-long process:

Step 1:
Borrow Ms. Davis's wheely book cart and bring about 100 books home a night.

Step 2:
Find AR Book Finder

Step 3:
Enter your title into the search bar and find your book.

Step 4: 
Write the AR book number in the inside flap of the book.
This will help kids when they need to take the quiz.
Much easier for kiddos to type in 5-7 digits than the enter title or author! 

Step 5:
Leveling the books using colored dots.
(Staples and Walgreens had a mixture of my book bins colored stickers.)
When you look up the AR quiz number, it'll have a spot that has the reading level for the book.

.5-1.5- Red sticker
1.6-2.0- Orange sticker
2.1-2.5 Yellow sticker
2.6-3.0 Green sticker
3.1-3.5 Blue sticker
3.6-4.0 Pink sticker
4.1-4.5 Double Red stickers
4.6-5.0 Double Orange stickers
5.1-5.5 Double Yellow stickers

Step 6:
Stick the colored sticker on the bottom right side of the book and write the reading level on the sticker. 

(Another example)

Step 7: 
Sort the books by red, orange, yellow, etc., so you can put them in specific book bins for children's easy access!  

Step 8: 
Get fabulous new book tubs from Target!
Make book tub labels and put the sticker AND book level on the book bin.

Step 9:
Sort your books!
(Or have your student helpers do it "as a learning experience". Kidding! But seriously- they love to help!!)

Step 10:
Do not forget to actually teach the students about the sorting system. Some kiddos will still struggle at first putting books back in their special home. But the colors are certainly easier to keep up with than the genres.

My kids are crazy about this! 
They get so excited when they read a red level book and get to move up to orange level. We talk about "Just Right" books for readers. They get so excited when they learn that one level is "too easy" for them, so they can move onto the next level. 

P.S.- I still have 2 book tubs filled with books. I had NO idea I had so many books. I'm about to head back to Target to get MORE book bins. So I will have 2 book bins for each color. You never know just how many books you have until you actually redo your library! 


  1. Oh boy I couldn't even imagine the huge undertaking this must have been! At least it looks fabulous and you won't have to re-do it for a long time!


  2. Looks great! I did this a few years ago and even my kindergarteners do pretty well with the color sorting system!

    Berry Sweet Teaching Treats

  3. I did this over my fall break last year. It is so worth it! And I have my former students (now 3rd graders) come in and sort the books occasionally during their recess! Who better to organize my library than students who are super familiar with it!

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  6. I had a bad dream about the too many book in my classroom just this morning...I had to move them yesterday for work to be done in my room...thus the dream about drowning in books! I think I need to get rid of some. I have a combination of theme/author and leveled books. I can't let go of theme/authors.

  7. Thank you for the step by step! I just came to first grade from Kinder after many years and AR is not used in Kinder at my school. I am actually dreading the organization but I know that once done, its done! tHANKS AGAIN!!!

  8. Where at Target did you find those bins?

    1. They were in the home section two years ago.