Celebration: Books, books, books and reader whispers

This week, one of my expressive students exclaimed, “You’re one crazy book lady!” I can’t remember what exactly inspired this comment but I think I was searching intently for a book in one of many piles in my teacher resource area. Piles have grown. Some looked more like towers. Towers at risk of toppling. A recent donation meant some book shopping for early chapters and graphics (see photo below) and my children had let go of some series they were ready to pass on to my classroom. There were still unlabelled and unorganized books that I should have been able to deal with in the summer but the teacher strike meant limited time for classroom setup. Books, books, books.  🙂

Celebration: Books, books, books and reader whispers

Friday was a professional development day in my district and I decided to use it to 1) dive into these book piles 2) pull out titles from book bins that my now Grade 3 and 4 readers are ready for and 3) to talk books and strategies with some of my colleagues. This week, I celebrate, this much needed and very useful time.

Armed with stickers, notebooks, tape and bins, and of course, caffeinated reinforcements, I began. Before I book talk books, I like them to have stickers on the back (sealed with tape to ensure they stay there) so that students can return them to their correct bin.

Celebration: Books, books, books and reader whispers

I was able to get an entire bin of books ready to be book talked. Many titles landed in my specific themed baskets for future read alouds or writing mentor texts.

Celebration: Books, books, books and reader whispers

I made lists of new labels to make for bins being switched to accommodate new titles. Some series went into storage and some came out to be part of the classroom library.

Celebration: Books, books, books and reader whispers

But the best part? As I worked in the room and interacted with the books, ideas kept coming. Ideas for mini lessons in Reading Workshop, ideas for record keeping, ideas for new titles to add to our collection (of course!) and ideas about books to suggest to specific readers. Usually, I do all of this classroom library organization in the summer when students won’t be in the room for weeks and weeks. Yesterday, it was like my current class was right there with me and nudging me to think about things specifically for their particular reading needs. It was like I had little voices reminding me. Whispers of interests, ideas and needs:

“We need more chapter book fantasy stories because I am getting into that genre.”

“You should tell me about Iris and Walter stories and Mercy Watson titles because I am ready for early chapter books.”

“Find a place to hold and display some of the big fact books we can share for buddy reading.”

“Are there books in our classroom library that fit for me as I am transitioning to more challenging titles? I really like Fly Guy books!”

“I read lots of series last year but I think I am ready for some stand alone chapter books. But, where do I start?”

“We need a recording sheet to reflect how we are reading widely and exploring book boxes but make it simple and fun.”

“Display our Reader’s Statements in a new spot so we can refer to them as we browse books.”

“We forgot to add more ideas to our What kind of mood are we in? sheet last week. Let’s do more of this.”

Celebration: Books, books, books and reader whispers

This week,  I celebrate time to be in my room, organizing and thinking about ways to make it more responsive for the readers that inhabit the space Monday to Friday.  Yes, I do this daily with all of the students there with me. But, with the gift of a full day, time to reflect and just wisps of reader energies surrounding me, I accomplished so much. I can’t wait for another week of growing passionate and devoted readers in my room.

celebrate-link-upThank you also to Ruth Ayres, for the inspiration and her Celebration Link up that she hosts each week. I love how being a part of this #celebratelu community reminds us weekly to look for the positive and take some time for gratitude.

18 thoughts on “Celebration: Books, books, books and reader whispers

  1. Oh Carrie, you are so right. The time in the classroom with our books is so thought provoking. I need to do this! I love your chart for different moods. So true!! I try to make my library more like a book store, where students can shop for what they need. Also the book talks!! Oh I have to get that more organized!! Thanks for the call to action.

    By the way, resubmit your link to Ruth’s page. You inadvertently put in Ruth’s post!

    • Thanks Julieanne! I am pleased this post inspired some thinking/planning for you. It was a day in my room I really needed and I already feel the huge amount of spillover it will allow into what happens for the reading in my classroom!

  2. I love your chart for different moods too! Totally stealing this for Children’s Lit and Adolescent Lit next semester. I love everything about this post, of course. And seeing those bins! The Mr Putter and Tabby bin–love thinking about Mr Putter and Tabby hanging out with Frog and Toad and Henry and Mudge.

    • They are extremely well behaved together. I suspect Mr. Putter makes tea for all. Mudge knocks it all over and Frog and Toad bustle about making things right! Steal away – this is a “chart” in progress. Loving seeing where it goes.

  3. I do love this chart! I’ve been mulling and outlining some writing on my first graders as readers this year. They truly are! And we must celebrate devoted readers! And we must celebrate their teachers who work tirelessly to keep that going! What a great time you had.

    • Thank you Kendra. Even little ones curious about reading are readers. Just sat in the children’s section of my local library and read picture books with my daughter (and her cool YA novel) – I watched one little one about three flip pages and natter and then a five year old watch a child maybe seven or so reading aloud to her mother. The five year old was spell bound. You just know she really wants that reading secret!

  4. Love every bit, and especially the mood chart (like others above). I finally did a lot of organizing this past end of the year, & finished up in the summer. Now I actually am going to weed some out to share with others. They sit in my shelves with little use, so might as well do something good for them. Carrie, you are a crazy book lady, & I love that you had this day!

    • Part of my Friday organizing has been a pile of books to share with local Writer’s group that does work with local school kids. They have book shelves that are always in need of more titles! Thanks for the lovely comment Linda.

  5. “You’re one crazy book lady!” The best possible crown for you to wear. I love learning about books from you, especially since your books are out of my usual middle grade zone. I love the chart with different books to match moods. And what a delight to have a day to listen to those wonderful voices: “Whispers of interests, ideas and needs.”

  6. Carrie,
    I love the intention behind your organization. The phrase “reader whispers” is a keeper and one I’m jotting in my notebook. Thanks for taking the time to celebrate.

  7. Carrie, I am impressed by the amount of reflection you have done to match books to readers. I am going to pass on your photo and story to the teachers I work with for Book Love inspiration.

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