I take a great deal of pride in my own library. I often tell my students that my book are like my children, and I expect them to treat my books with appropriate care. They usually take this charge quite seriously.
My library is voluminous and fairly quality in terms of books students want to read, but of course, it can always get better. For one, as I mentioned in an earlier post, I am working on incorporating more nonfiction.
Friday I started tackling the task of leveling my books. This does not, as one of my friends asked, mean that I stood there with a carpenter level to perfectly align my texts. Rather, through lots of googling, I'm attempting to research and assign a Fountas and Pinnell guided reading level to each of my books. I chose F & P over Lexile and DRA because frankly it's the one that makes the most sense to me. (Click here for a basic equivalency chart).
Wow, is this a big project! I'm estimating I got through a third to half of my books in a little over four hours. I really couldn't find any source of a comprehensive database, so for each book I ended up googling the title and "guided reading level." Is there a better way to do this that someone can share?!
I'm pretty satisfied with the start I have so far. I may just leave it at that percentage and see if I can have a former student help me with doing more at some point.
One point that our trainer explained was that students should be able to access your library in multiple ways. Meaning that the whole thing shouldn't be sorted by author, genre, or level. I like that this de-emphasizes levels. I don't ever want my students to think that they are a letter or number, rather than a real reader. We do a lot of talk about finding "just right books," and level or Lexile is not always the best way to decide. A motivated reader may be able to read beyond his or her skill if it's a particularly engaging text and vis versa. This is just one more way for my kiddos to access great books and maybe try one they may not have before. I'll let you know how it goes!
The middle and top section are sorted by author. (I love these green bins...thank you, Deals!) See the little colored dot in the upper right hand corner of the books? That's where I'm adding the guided reading level.
These still need pretty labels, but this is the beginning of the books organized by guided reading level. You can also see the pink bins. These are two of the most popular among students. One is "Liked the movie? You'll love the book!" and one is "Miss S recommends" (I rotate books into that bin often).
Some favorite authors!