A classroom library is an excellent tool to encourage students to read more and various books. However, an unorganized library is as useful as a stack of books in a box. Therefore, I elicit student help to reorganize the library in an efficient way that would encourage them to read more books and explore new genres.
I start by asking students how they find books in a library or in a bookstore. I write a list of what they share on the board. I then ask them which ways seem most helpful. Together, we select a few ways to reorganize the books on the shelf so they can find the books they are interested in.
There are almost 1,000 books in my classroom library. A lot of space is needed sort through the books and give students enough space to move around the room. Therefore, I create five or so places around the room, representing the top five genres (Realistic Fiction, Fantasy, Mystery, Historical Fiction, Science Fiction and Traditional Literature/Fables). I then create groups of four or five so that students can work together to decide where books should go. Students receive baskets or stacks of books and then sort them according to genre.
Later, I assign those groups to a genre and ask them to resort the genres into series and remove books that do not belong to that genre.
Finally, we put them back on the shelf, organized by genre. This activity allows students to explore the library and get excited about the books that they will have an opportunity to read. Throughout this activity, I often heard, "Hey, look at this!" or "I remember this book" or "Have you ever read this book? Its great!", etc. The lesson also gives students an opportunity to explore new and interesting books, genres, and series recommended by their peers.
Students just had an opportunity to explore the books in the classroom library. Inevitably, they found or shared books that were new and interesting. During the “share”, I ask if any students found books that they are excited to read. Students will be expected to read a lot especially for them to improve skills and read more challenging books at an appropriate reading level.
Some of the books that students were excited to read after this activity were books from The Braxton Brothers series, Hoot, Gaurdians of Gahoole, and others.