Here's the rough outline:
- Imagination (sci fi and fantasy)
- Suspense (mystery, horror, thrillers, adventure)
- Realistic Fiction
- A Picture is Worth 1,000 Words (graphic novels, picture books)
- Lives (memoir, biography, autobiography)
- Scientific nonfiction
- History and War (mixes fiction and nonfiction)
- Language Play (poetry, novels in verse, short stories, anthologies)
- Illustrated Novels (Diary of a Wimpy Kid, Middle School; the Worst Years of My Life, etc)
- Sports (mixes fiction and nonfiction)
- Recently book-talked books have a shelf where they can face out
Then I have BOOK BASKETS in various locations, with these themes, which will change periodically:
- Hoops (amazing how many basketball books there are)
- Illness and Death
- Thriller Queens (April Henry and Mary Downing Hahn)
- Writer's Lives (memoirs by Gary Paulsen, Jack Gantos, etc.)
- En Español
- Graphic Novels: Nonfiction
- Quick Reads (under 150 pages)
- September 11, 2001
HOW I TRY TO GET KIDS INTERESTED IN SPECIFIC BOOKS
- A couple of weeks ago I experimented with placing books front side out all along all of my bookshelves. It definitely drew more kids in, but because I'm not actually a bookstore, it meant I was covering up lots of other books.
- I do a lot of hand-selling.
- I often gather up a handful of books for an individual student to go through.
- Book talks are definitely a huge factor in getting kids interested in books they might not have noticed otherwise.
- Once a week the kids share the author and title of their current book, adding more about it if they're inspired to. I choose just one or two points to jump in on--pointing out that three of you are reading a book by that author, or asking a specific (geniune!) question.
- Every two weeks I'm going to have small groups have a bit longer book chat together. We've only done one so far though.
- I am really pushing the idea that even if you're not going to order from the Scholastic Books flyer, you can look through it and submit requests to me for adding to the classroom library.
I really want more kids to have the confidence to browse on their own, but maybe it's just too early in the year. Offhand, I'd say 2/3 of my students have a book they are enjoying, and 1/3 just have a book because it's pretty clear that you have to have a book in my class. It KILLS ME to see kids forcing themselves to read something they don't like, and of course, it annoys me to no end to see kids not even bothering. JUST GET A BETTER BOOK! But obviously, it's not that simple for them.
If you have any suggestions or feedback, I'd love to hear it! What makes a library or bookstore "browseable" to you? How did you learn how to find books for yourself? Have you seen any fantastic classroom library set-ups, whether as a student, teacher, or parent?