I have a blog post scheduled for next month that focuses on organizing and managing a classroom library. Today I am going to focus on how to store the books that the students are using during your independent reading time.
If you have your students just reading one book at a time then a simple bookmark with their name on it is an easy method for managing the book. You can have them keep this book in their desk or in a basket designated to their table.
Ideally the students should have a couple of books in their possession at one time. This will prevent the need to get up and search for a new book during the designated reading time. Some teachers also want students using a reader’s notebook or a reading log during this time as well as reading strategy sheets. If you want your students to be using more than just a single book you’ll need to have a method of managing the students’ materials for your independent reading block.
The most cost-effective option is to use a Ziploc bag for each student. While they are not good for storing a binder, they do work well for multiple books and a folder or composition notebook. The bags typically don’t last all year, but they are cheap and easy to replace as needed.
Book boxes are commonly found in classrooms. Many teachers use magazine holders as a student book box. I once used the cardboard version from Ikea. They were cheap and I liked that I could customize them easily because they were so plain, but they didn’t last long at all. If you are going to use a cardboard box, I highly suggest you reinforce it with duct tape at the start of the year.
Those style boxes are also available in metal.
There are commercially made book boxes that are designed using a thick plastic. I have found ice cube containers to work just as well at a fraction of the cost. You can usually find them at Walmart.
Dollar stores often have a variety of baskets to choose from. The quality varies, but you can find some good options here. Because their selection is always different, I recommend purchasing a few extras at the start of the year to account for new students and breakage.
Canvas totes offer an abundance of space and will last for more than one year. They can be personalized which is fun. They can be a challenge to store within the classroom. These are a good option if you have space to hang them or if you want the students to take their books between home and school regularly.
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