I thought I would show you parts of my library from time to time. I’m starting with a newly sorted “Step into Reading” (SIR) section. Here you’ll find books for beginning readers. The books go from having just a few sight words on a page to whole chapters and last year, they were shelved in one big chunk. This was problematic for a few reasons. First, the books are so thin that they are difficult to shelve and find. Since the books were in order by author instead of level, it was tough for kids to find a book that matched their reading level.
So I decided it would be easier for everyone, the readers and the volunteers, if I grouped the books by reading level. I ordered some durable bins from Scholastic (using book fair funds) and spent some time sorting the books. Some things I ran into:
- How do you know the level of the books? You would think this would be easy because most beginning reader books have a number on their cover and spine. Unfortunately, different publishers have different criteria when it comes to what is a level 1 book and level 2 book and so on. So, in the end, I decided that the best way to sort the books would be to look at how many words are on a page of each book, the complexity of the language is taken in account as well, and sort them with similar titles. This takes awhile but a benefit is that you will have a better knowledge of what is in your collection. I ended up with levels 1-4 plus a bin of Non-Fiction (all levels), 2 bins of beginning chapter books, and a bin just for Cynthia Rylant (she is prolific!)
- How will your volunteers know where to put the books? I ordered boxes of colored stickers that would match the bins. Every book has a sticker on it so my volunteers can just drop the book in the right bin and consider that book shelved.
- Since the books are just dumped in bins, how are you going to be able to find a certain title? The thing about beginning reader books is that kids are not usually looking for a book by a particular author (unless that author is Mo Willems) so having the SIR books in order by author wasn’t very helpful in the first place. Beginning readers are a real big “judge a book by its cover” crowd so it makes more sense for the books to face out so that those beautiful covers can be judged! I did add which bin the book is in on the catalog to help narrow a search for a certain book.
So there you have it! This is the first of a few changes that I made of the summer. My prediction is that it will make it much easier to find right fit books which will (hopefully) lead to more circulation of an often overlooked collection!