I have spent a great deal of time and money on my classroom library over the years and I have wanted to share how I organize my library for quite some time. In this post, I am going to show you how I set up my library and level my library.
I will also share what you will need if you wish to do set up your library this way as well. I will say that it takes a great deal of time and effort. I enlisted the help of parents and volunteers for the task and I recommend you do the same if you plan on doing this and if you have a large number of books as I do.
Many people choose to organize their libraries by level, but I felt that the best way to set up my library was by genre. Personally I feel that this is easier for students so that they can find books that they are interested in quicker and easier. Here is a snapshot of what my library and book bins look like. I purchased cheap plastic bins from Target.
The labels are from the Brown Bag Teacher. I just liked the clean look of them and there are so many to choose from! You can purchase them HERE.
I laid out all my books in piles by genre and placed a sticker label in the corner which corresponded to which book bin it would go in. This way, students would know which bin the book would go back in. You will need Avery labels that print 60 to a sheet. You just type the name of the book bin on the sticker labels and print them.
After labeling what genre each book is comes the most tedious part for which you will possibly want a volunteer to help you. This is the part where I level each book. Before I discuss that, I want to show you what this looks like. I leveled my books two ways: by Lexile and by Guided Reading Level. The picture below shows the sticker labels in the corner of each book. The colored label with the number is the lexile level. The circle label has the Guided Reading level.
I purchased these Avery sticker labels below. For Lexiles 0-199, I used the pink Avery labels, for 200-399, I used yellow, for 400-599 orange, for 600-799 green, and for anything higher, I used the same white Avery labels that I used to label the genres. You want to make sure you put a piece of clear tape over the label once you stick it on the book for extra durability. I used the circle Avery labels for the Guided Reading Level and I followed a similar color coding method. You can choose to use your own color codes however wish, but I only had four colors so I had to make my colors stretch across grade levels instead of one color per Guided Reading Level.
Once you have your labels, you will need a level conversion chart like the one pictured below. You can download this one by clicking the picture.
You will also need a few apps to help you when leveling the books. The first is the Scholastic Book Wizard website which you can find by clicking HERE. It is a free online tool that allows you to put in the name of the book and will give you different information including the Lexile and Guided Reading Level. Often it will tell you what genre the book is as well. It will likely have most of the books you have if they aren't outdated.
The second is the Scholastic Book Wizard App. This is a great tool because it allows you to scan the barcode on the back of the book and it will automatically bring up the book with all of the information. This app typically only works with Scholastic books. Sometimes the app will not have the book, but the Scholastic website will. I always check the website if the app doesn't have it.
If both of those options fail, the next best app I have found is called Library Leveler. It costs $3.99 but it is worth the money in my opinion because it has a ton of books.
Another app that you can use is called Literacy Leveler. It also costs $3.99, but I haven't had much success with it.
Sometimes the apps will only give you the lexile level of the book, in which case you will need to use the conversion chart to find the Guided Reading Level and vice versa. Sometimes you won't be able to find either and then I had to guess based on the text of the book.
I hope you found this blog post helpful!
I would love to hear how you set up your libraries or any tips you have for setting up your libraries! If you know of any other apps for leveling a library, please share that as well. Please leave your answers in the comments!