Wednesday, January 16, 2013

I-Can-Read with My Eyes Shut!

Our I-Can-Read section was massive and underutilized. A row of early readers stretched out on a long shelf, two rows high, neatly arranged alphabetically by author. 

But only a few teachers and parents took books from there; children rarely did. If I pulled out a selection of titles, they became popular for that moment. But once back on the shelf, they were forgotten again.

Solution? Weeding + Bins + ditching ABC order.

We converted the shelves into bins with clear plastic fronts and reorganized the readers by series, character, or topic.

For example
Step Into Reading, level 1
Step Into Reading, level 2...
Amelia Bedelia

We numbered each bin and changed the spine labels to match. We added signs to show the name and logo of the series, or the faces of characters, or a symbol for each topic.

Now....our pre-reading students can navigate the I-Can-Read section on their own.


  1. Love this! My fiction is by genre and nonfiction by subject and my middle schoolers love it. Wish more elementary would try this.

  2. "converted the shelves into bins," you write. I love them, but how did you do it? I'd be interested in a more detailed construction-y summary if it's possible to share. Your section looks so friendly and easy to navigate!

    1. Hi Carolyn,
      Thanks for your comment. The carpenters who built the shelving came and did the re-fit. They put two dividers on each shelf, cut grooves in the dividers, then slid in a piece of plexiglass. I am thinking of doing some more bin sections, but I am planning to use plastic bins first to see how it goes. That might be a solution if you don't want to do a major renovation. I picture something similar to the book bins that lots of teachers use for their classroom libraries.
      Thanks again for your question!

  3. What a great idea! I'm trying to think if there is a way to do this in my library as inserts inside the shelves that I already have.

  4. Crazy-- I was going to email you today and ask about these shelves. I need to show this to my builder friend:) Thanks!

  5. How did you catalog the books once the bins were set up this way? I am thinking that the call numbers would need to represent the bin so that kids could find them/they could be shelved?

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  7. My K/1 library is a work in progress. I love your style!

  8. Great post, and found at just the right time. I've already pulled out the superhero books. Next was to be the Chima books. Now...maybe the entire thing gets reorganized. Thanks for prompting me to think about my I Can Read section differently.

  9. What a fabulous idea! Would you be willing to share the template for your signage? If so, please send to figdorek at bsd405 .org. Thanks so much!

  10. One more thing... about how many books can fit in one bin? Would you send W x H x D? I'm so excited about this idea!