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It’s All About the Books
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It’s All About the Books

How to Create Bookrooms and Classroom Libraries That Inspire Readers

By Tammy Mulligan, Clare Landrigan
Foreword by Jennifer Serravallo

It’s All About the Books is a practical yet detailed guide to creating a system where classroom libraries and bookrooms work seamlessly together to make it easy for teachers to find books to engage and scaffold all students in a school community.

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Full Description

The term “lifelong reader” is more than a slogan or jargon in a mission statement. Lifelong readers need passion, agency, and a sense of inquiry in their reading lives. They also need books.

In It’s All About the Books, Tammy Mulligan and Clare Landrigan share the systems they have developed over the last 15 years to create classroom libraries and book rooms that support both student choice and instructional goals.

Getting started with designing and provisioning classroom libraries and bookrooms to support lifelong readers involves collaboration, planning, and some elbow grease! It’s All About the Books is a practical yet detailed guide to creating a system where classroom libraries and bookrooms work seamlessly together to make it easy for teachers to find books to engage and scaffold all students in a school community. Each chapter includes photos, resources, book lists, and a step-by-step outline of the process so you can get started right away. From design, to inventory, to organizing,  purchasing, and using these books in the classroom—they demonstrate how to make the most of what you have, and how to get what need on a budget.

Every child deserves the opportunity to become a lifelong reader. It’s All About the Books will help you transform how you organize books across the entire school to make each teacher’s book supply seem endless in the eyes of a reader. Teachers must have easy access to what they need, when they need it, because in the life of a reader the right book at the right time makes all the difference.

 

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Tammy and Clare want this book to impact the lives of teachers and students directly so they are donating all author royalties it generates to the Book Love Foundation.

Book Love is a not-for-profit organization founded by Penny Kittle with one goal: to put books in the hands of teenagers. Our book will now expand that goal and put books into the hands of elementary and middle grade students as well. Thank you, Penny, for allowing us to bring the heart of this book to life through your hard work and vision.

—Tammy and Clare

Podcast

Contents

Foreword by Jennifer Serravallo

Acknowledgments

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Chapter 1

What Does It Take to Develop Lifelong Readers? Research Says . . . Books

Story of a Reader: Creating a Community of Readers

Research Demonstrates That Books Matter

How to Get the Books We Need in Schools

Overview of This Book

Story of a School: Celebrating a Community of Readers  

*

Chapter 2

Choosing and Using Books: The Heart and Soul of Literacy

Story of a Reader: A Reader’s Identity Is More Than a Level

What Do Readers Consider When Choosing Books?

What Do Teachers Consider When Choosing Books?

Where Are the Books? School Libraries, Bookrooms, and Classroom Libraries

Story of a School: Make the Best Use of the Books You Have

*

Chapter 3

Designing Classroom Libraries and Bookrooms to Work Together: Maximizing Access

Story of a Reader: You Can’t Love What You Can’t Read

Organizing Books for Access

Studying Classroom Library Design

Mentor Classroom Library: Come on In!

Designing Classroom Libraries for Access

Studying Bookroom Design

Mentor Bookroom: Come on In!

Designing Bookrooms for Access

Bringing the Designs to Life

Story of a School: Working Together to Provide More Text Choice

*

Chapter 4

What Books Do You Have? What Books Do You Need? The Inventory Process

Story of a Reader: If You Build It, They Will Come

Putting Time and Money Where the Research Is: Filling Our Schools with Books

Taking Inventory

Planning Before Reorganizing

Rotating Book Inventory with All Calls

Story of a School: Together We Can Do So Much

*

Chapter 5

More Bang for Your Books: Provisioning Your School with Books

Story of a Reader: There Is More to a Book Than The Book Itself

When We Don’t Have What We Need: Budgeting for Book Purchases

Getting Ready for the Grand Opening

Setting the Books Free! Getting New Books into the School Community

Story of a School: Buying Books Is Professional Development

*

Chapter 6

So Many Books . . . How Does a Reader Choose? Supporting Readers’ Choice and Agency with Books

Story of a Reader: What Is a Good Reader?

What Is a Reader? Know Your Readers as Well as You Know Your Books

Talking with Your Students About How Readers Choose Books

Helping Students Plan for Summer Reading

Story of a School: Have Books, Will Travel

*

Chapter 7

Got Books . . . Now What? Organizing Books to Support Instruction

Story of a Reader: If You Like This, Then You Should Try . . .

Understanding the Reading Process

Knowing the Books

Honoring All Readers in the Books We Choose

Knowing the Reader

Story of a School: What Happened to Readers Workshop?

*

Chapter 8

Digital Resources: Opening a World of Possibilities

Story of a Reader: Using Digital Tools to Engage Readers

Teaching Digital Literacy: It’s More Than Integrating Technology into the Classroom

Using Digital Resources to Enhance Instruction and Engagement

Story of a School: Digital Resources Ensure No Child Is Excluded from the Literacy Club

*

Epilogue

Works Cited

 

In Depth

Overview of This Book 

Getting started with provisioning and designing classroom libraries and bookrooms to support lifelong readers involves collaboration, planning, and some elbow grease! We organized this book to walk you through a step-by-step process of how to get more bang for your books. From design, to inventory, to purchasing, organizing, and using these books in the classroom, we will show you how to make the most of what you have and how to get what you need on a budget. We’ll bring you into classrooms and invite you to join teacher planning sessions to show how we use the organization of the books to enhance instruction and engage students. 

Each chapter includes photos, resources, booklists, and a step-by-step outline of the process so you can start tomorrow. We know there are authors, illustrators, publishers, and resources we did not include in this book and, for this, we apologize. It would be impossible to include every book we love, and we continue to be introduced to books each day. Our intention is to honor all children’s book authors and illustrators—mentioned and unmentioned—in this book. We hope the variety of examples we share will provide the right balance of guidance and flexibility so the design you create reflects your vision and passions. It’s a book about books—what could be better than that? 

Here’s what to expect from the next chapters. 

Chapter 2: Choosing and Using Books: The Heart and Soul of Literacy 

In this chapter we discuss the role of books as both instructional tools and the vehicles to support the development of the identity and habits of a reader. We share our thoughts on text complexity, directly address the controversy over leveling texts, and show how to strike a balance that supports students’ reading identities. 

Chapter 3: Designing Classroom Libraries and Bookrooms to Work Together: Maximizing Access 

In Chapter 3, we take you on a tour of classroom libraries and bookrooms so you can see firsthand how to design each with the other in mind. We share many different ways to create a bookroom—including when your school doesn’t have an actual room for the bookroom. We share different models for collaboration, and we explain how the design of bookrooms and classroom libraries can support both the instructional needs of a teacher and the desires of a reader. We show how to design classroom libraries and bookrooms so they work seamlessly with each other to provide a seemingly endless supply of books. 

Chapter 4: What Books Do You Have? What Books Do You Need? The Inventory Process 

In this chapter, we provide an inventory process that will help you take stock of what you have and identify what you need. This process will teach you some ways to collaborate and get organized so that you can plan for and prioritize purchasing as well as reorganization. 

Chapter 5: More Bang for Your Books: Provisioning Your School with Books 

We are thrifty shoppers. We know budgets are tight and teachers often spend personal funds to provision their classroom libraries. In this chapter we share all we have learned about ways to enhance your school’s book collection on a budget, as well as our favorite tried-and-true time-saving tips and cautions. We will be with you every step of the way, sharing sample booklists, order forms, publisher hyperlinks, sample budgets, and sample order guides. 

Chapter 6: So Many Books . . . How Does a Reader Choose? Supporting Readers’ Choice and Agency with Books 

The sooner we involve our students in the process of organizing the books—in both the classroom and the bookroom—the sooner they will be on their way to developing the habits and dispositions of a reader. In this chapter, we show how we can use book organization to help students find the right book at the right time in order to meet their goals and develop their reading identities. 

Chapter 7: Got Books . . . Now What? Organizing Books to Support Instruction 

Chapter 6 describes how to organize books in support of student choice, and this chapter shows how to organize books in support of instructional goals. We peek into grade-level team meetings and see how teachers use books to plan. We take a closer look at the baskets in classroom libraries and bookrooms to see how teachers use books to support curriculum and student engagement. We even show you some suggested titles in these baskets and give some tips for how we use them to scaffold instruction. 

Chapter 8: Digital Resources: Opening a World of Possibilities 

Digital resources have the potential to dramatically impact access to texts for students. In this chapter we share how we use the ever-evolving world of digital resources to increase access, engage students, and enhance our instruction. We invite you into classrooms to see how we use some of our favorite digital resources. Finally, we show how we are integrating digital resources into classroom libraries and bookrooms to create text sets that increase volume and choice. 

 

Samples