A Better Classroom Library in Three Simple Steps

By Miranda Kozman | Teacher Tips

So you’ve gone to all the trouble of building a classroom library. Now, how do you get students more excited about using it? It’s not as hard as you think!

Use these three ways to make your classroom library the talk of the town ... or at least the talk of the playground.

Three Steps to a Better Classroom Library

Feature a Book of the Week

You’ve probably got heaps of fantastic books in your class library that students don’t know exist. It’s time to find your favorites and give them a little time in the limelight!

Every Monday, take five minutes to introduce a “book of the week.” Show students the cover, give them a synopsis, and leave it displayed in a special place. If you keep up this tradition throughout the year, you’ll be building a treasure-trove of ideas for book reports, independent reading assignments, and summer reading.

Organize Books into Fun Categories

The way we organize and present books to students tends to be a little…boring. Make your library a place worth exploring by creating exciting thematic sections!

Use your insider knowledge of students’ interests, hobbies, and cultures to create more compelling categories. Here are few ideas to get your juices flowing:

  • Stories about Best Friends
  • Big Adventures
  • Books for Sports Fans
  • Awesome People (Biographies)
  • Stories to Make You Laugh
  • If You Love Computers, Machines, and Gadgets
  • Magic and Make Believe
  • All About Animals
  • Best Books for Fall (or any other season or holiday)
  • Student of the Week 's Favorite Books

Let Students Add Book Reviews

Slip a review sheet in the front of every book with room for multiple reviews. After a student reads it, let him or her give it a 1–5 star rating and write an optional short review. Then, when students are browsing books, they can use their peer’s notes and reviews to help make their choices.

Bonus: Reviews are a great way to have students analyze what they’ve read without it feeling like it 's a chore.

Double Bonus: It gets students talking to each other about literature, and who doesn’t love that?)