Blog Tour: It’s All About the Books

Screenshot 2018-04-29 at 5.40.51 AM.pngAdapted from “All About That Bass” by Meghan Trainor
“Because you know I’m all about the books,
‘Bout the books, everywhere
I’m all ’bout books, in the bookroom, and classroom

I’m all ’bout books, in the bookroom, and classroom

I’m all ’bout reading, ’bout the books,

Because you know I’m all about reading,
‘Bout the books, Read Alouds too
I’m all ’bout independent reading, ’bout book sets.
I’m all ’bout book clubs, ’bout, partners too
I’m all ’bout the books (books)
I’m all ’bout learning, all about growing,
I’m all ’bout poetry, all about the series,
I’m all about adventure, and mystery
We gon’ read fantasy, historical fiction, and nonfiction too.
We know that books save lives
We know they make you feel
We know they take you places
We know they open up the world
We know they are a must
We know that readers have to read
We know…”
This book is a treasure trove of ideas to help teachers, buildings and districts increase student access to books and ultimately with the generosity of the authors to fund elementary and middle school classroom libraries through Penny Kittle’s #BookLove foundation.  I’ve already written about the book here before I’d finished reading the book and here after the #G2Great Twitter Chat (and when I was done reading the book).  This week, posts are also available at the sites listed above.  In the book the color pictures from classrooms and bookrooms are so detailed that you can immediately begin to think of new ways to reorganize your own book collections. Tammy and Clare talk about the need to have school libraries, classroom libraries and a bookroom.

Do you have a bookroom? 

What is the purpose of your bookroom?

There is no “ONE” right way to set up a bookroom.  Tammy and Clare suggest that you can use a closet, a room, a portion of the school library for a bookroom or “book annex”.  The initial step is to inventory your books and the forms that are available from the Heinemann Publishing online resources.

 

Screenshot 2018-04-29 at 3.25.36 PM.png

Mulligan & Landrigan. It’s All About the Books. (p. 41)

 

I’ve been reviewing these bullets as I’ve studied book rooms ever since reading this book (p. 37- 54).  Is your bookroom essentially a “guided reading library” or is it a bookroom in the sense that Tammy and Clare refer to?  Access is a key.  Easy access is even more important.  Design involves the physical aspects of the bookroom space: shelves, baskets, labels, and location as well as the uses of the books. How accessible are your books?

Do all students have enough books to read (volume) to both grow and be inspired to be a life-long reader?

Students need daily access to more books than they can read so they can have choice.  If students are to be reading independently for 30 minutes each day, they need choices from a “limitless pool” of books.  That’s the purpose of the bookroom.  Choice involves considering a redesign or redeployment of current book inventories.  Considering how to meet multiple instructional needs may require changes:  some books in six packs for guided reading/small group instruction, some books as singles for independent reading and some books in 2s/3s for book clubs.  All.without.purchasing.more.books.at.this.time!

Live dangerously.  Check out your bookroom.  Are there some books that are starting to collect dust because they haven’t been read recently?

If those are six packs of books in zip-lock baggies, Tammy and Clare suggest that you may want to consider having them redistributed as singles for independent reading.  This is especially true for the beginning levels where students will need a high volume of books to read daily.  To Consider:  Maybe not all of the books need to be in sets of six in the bookroom.  Is that a novel thought?

What are some other possibilities?

What are the key topics that your students are interested in?  If it’s animals and you are a kindergarten teacher, you may want some A and B books in a basket labeled “Animals”. The label will NOT say A/B  This may even be a basket with a mixture of fiction and nonfiction books (my thinking).  If your first grade students like animals, you may need an E/F basket of animal books or  an I/J basket of animal books.  Again, the label will be the topic. The labels might be topics, authors, or general like “Laugh Out Loud”. Think of how easy it might be to “use” these books in your classroom if the books are already organized into baskets of approximately 20 books that you would be ready to check out and go!

What books do you need more of in your classroom?  Books for independent reading?  Books for book clubs?  Books for small group instruction?  Your classroom needs and student interests can help you figure out additional ways to organize books that may include your science and social studies curricula support as well. Sharing and redistributing books will keep the dust off and provide more reading for more students! What if you were able to reorganize your bookroom with a variety of combinations of books in order to enhance the readerly lives of your students?

If students are going to read a lot and become readers who love to read, they need access to books.  A lot of books. Single books for independent reading are needed in many classrooms because “rereading” the guided reading books are boring after awhile as are the Xeroxed books at the low levels, and perhaps FEWER books are needed for guided reading, especially after Level K.  (Moving to “strategy groups” for instruction allows the teacher to use the same mini-lesson for all students and provide practice in a text that shows they fully understand the strategy.) Practice, practice, practice in texts allows the student to build confidence and a skilled teacher can also consider how to close the gap for striving students.  That means fewer books will really need to be stored in groups of six.  Instead, baskets of books could be set up in the bookroom so teachers are able to rotate baskets to provide “new” titles for classroom libraries without depleting the school library. Independent student reading books can be refreshed and reinvigorated for immediate access in the classroom. (And it books are reassigned, perhaps the school book budget can now include some “new” purchases as new titles are published!)

Check out this April 29, 2018 Facebook Live session with Tammy and Clare here.

What ideas about bookrooms have intrigued you? 

What books could maybe be read more often if some changes were made in your current book collections?

Are you using your books in the most productive ways for students?




Heinemann has graciously donated a copy of It’s All About the Books for each stop on the blog tour. To enter, comment below and either post a picture of some part of your classroom library or your bookroom with the link in a comment or write about your thinking or your questions about bookrooms.  At the end of the week (Friday after 8 pm),  a random winner will be chosen to receive a copy of this fabulous new book!

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15 responses

  1. You know I am a fan. As I blow up most of our guided reading library, I’m thinking of dividing the books with an eye toward the units of study. Great series, book clubs, folktales, nonfiction, specific animals, character studies. It’s going to be a long summer, but I’m excited to see the change.

    1. i think it’s really important for teachers to decide which books they want to use for guided reading and to even have some designated for students to return to if there is a gap between their reading interests, performance and grade level. However, unless there is a plethora of school-owned books for independent reading, re-purposing books in the guided reading library AKA bookroom seems like an important step!

  2. […] Today’s stop is in Iowa with Fran McVeigh -she actually wrote a song about our book!  Leave a question or comment on her blog for a chance to win a copy of our book!   https://franmcveigh.wordpress.com/2018/05/02/blog-tour-its-all-about-the-books/ […]

  3. Clare Landrigan | Reply

    Only you could make up a song about our book! Love how you asked this: Is your bookroom essentially a “guided reading library” — that sums it up so nicely. Can’t wait to hear and see peoples thoughts, bookrooms, libraries in your comments. Thanks Fran!

    1. Clare, we never know when creativity will hit. I was thinking a poem, but then watched a bunch of library videos. This song has been used a lot.

      But in all seriousness, are we using all resources wisely? That’s the bottom line. How long should books sit on a shelf . . . Waiting?

  4. My emerging kinder readers would not be where they are today without our classroom library. Quality engaging books are inviting, and my kids never tire of perusing and choosing books they want to read! https://twitter.com/girlworld4/status/991119832375427072?s=21

    1. Books, books, books….so necessary!

  5. I absolutely love your creative book song! How fun!

    Books are gifts; therefore, they are meant to be given. It is so critical that we have the volume in our classroom library to continue to feed the growing interests of our Ss. We want them to come back for seconds, and thirds, and more.

    I love the idea of breaking up 6-book sets, esp to help build new classroom libraries and to further diversify existing libraries.

    You rock!

    1. Not my idea…Clare and Tammy said break up the book sets. . . And you are so right. If we want them to come back for seconds and thirds, we have to have books!

      1. Book Winner!!! 🙂

  6. Love the song!
    We’re just starting the idea of a bookroom in our school. And it’s starting great conversations with teachers. We have such a variety of ideas yet want the same thing: books available for kids.

    1. Sue,
      Stating your purpose for your book room will be so helpful! Best use of books means more books available for kids!

  7. Wonderful. Such great ideas. A summer goal: “Sharing and redistributing books will keep the dust off and provide more reading for more students! ” I need Clare and Tammy’s book as a resource to share in PD sessions. Since I do PD full-time, my “classroom library” resides in my home now… but it continues to grow (along with my professional library) because, as my husband says, I buy books instead of shoes. https://twitter.com/jcsnine/status/992794946070396929

    1. Books are such a great resource! Good luck with your plan to “redistribute”!

  8. […] Fran highlights the practical and inspirational highlights. […]

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