A child who reads will be an adult who thinks. – Unknown
Within a school setting, a safe and comfortable space is vital for young children to engage with literature. With the importance of a classroom library in mind, we’ve come up with a few tips for you to create one within your classroom.
Parents of your pupils should already be aware of the benefits of improving children’s reading skills, and so the love of learning is already being nurtured at home. To allow you to encourage children to pursue literature within the classroom here are a few ideas for which books to collect and how to present them.
Choosing The Right Books
As a teacher, knowing your audience comes with the territory. The same is true for creating a classroom library. You want a varied range of subjects and titles, along with a varied range of reading levels, but at the same time if you’re a KS1 teacher, you’re not going to want to pack the shelves with astrophysics and quantum theory.
A selection of colourful books with interesting titles is also key. We as adults all know that you shouldn’t judge a book by its cover, children however, definitely do!
Making The Space Work For You
However big or small the space you have is, make it work for you. Packing the space with loads of books is a great thing to do but remember it should be a space where children want to be. Make sure there’s space for a comfy place to sit, like a squashy chair or giant beanbag for them to relax on.
Put up colourful and inspirational posters to keep their interest, but don’t clutter the walls too much.
It’s All About Presentation
Technically a shelf of books can be called a library corner, but your kids will be looking for something that sparks the imagination a little more than that. If you were designing a reading corner for a grown-up, it’s sure to be a quiet, calm place of muted colours and silence. This is not the case for classroom libraries; colour is key. Make sure that you make those shelves interesting, for example turn the shelving into a feature. Make them fun, quirky and unique; maybe see if you can find some novelty shelving like the rocket ship below.
When asking yourself how to organise a classroom library, colour can also be brought in. The books you choose from different subjects can be sorted into colour-coded bins, shelves or even just labelled in a colourful way. This makes the space look so much more inviting and has the added benefit of making books easier to locate for both you and the children.
Make It a Comfortable Place To Be
We’ve already touched on having comfy seating but it’s the extra little touches that will make your library more enjoyable. For example, to compliment your classroom library seating ideas children may also enjoy having some companions while they read – some cute plush toys would be ideal to sit and snuggle as they enjoy their book.
Keep It Interesting
Once your library is established, don’t just rest on your laurels. Make sure your space is kept interesting and exposes the children to something refreshing every now and then. Doing this needn’t be a complete overhaul of your current set up though. If you’ve a small space and a lot of posters and images you wish to use, maybe change them every so often so they can all be seen and enjoyed.
Perhaps do a countdown of favourite books to be updated as a class each month or half-term. Encouraging your class to openly discuss their favourite books and add their input will promote their love of reading further. The below example lists their books as part of their space library theme.
Best Classroom Library Ideas
Below are just a few examples of classroom library ideas that have been executed beautifully.
To begin with, this space themed library (which we know has already been mentioned) is a fantastic use of a fairly small space. The books are categorised, the wall is inviting, and there are even props which tie into the theme. The only negative about this space is that there’s no seating.
Another brilliant example of using a theme within the classroom library is from @teachingwith_missmc on Instagram. This time a jungle theme has been used to create a secret space full of squishy cushions to sit on. For a small area this is a simple but fantastic use of the space.
Our final example is a brilliant use of space and colour, with a great balance of organised books with somewhere to sit and read them. This classroom is fortunate enough to have the room to do all of this but you can definitely make work on a smaller scale.
However you choose to set up your class library, make sure you have fun and remember these words from the fantastic Dr Seuss:
You can find magic wherever you look. Sit back and relax, all you need is a book.