Wednesday, December 19, 2012

The School Book Room: An Oasis for Readers

The School Book Room: An Oasis for Readers 

Jenny McFerin, K-2 Literacy Collaborative Trainer

Book rooms can be an oasis for teachers; a place to find the resources needed to quench our students’ thirst for quality, engaging, and enjoyable stories. Book rooms are a way for buildings to house a variety of texts in one location. Texts in book rooms range in many levels so that the instructional needs of all readers are met. This variety in level and genre provides opportunities for students to learn the written language and to love stories. It would not be an inefficient use of space and resources if each classroom housed its own set of leveled texts for students. A book room provides a space where teachers can access all levels of books as needed for students. Working with colleagues on organizing and maintaining this efficient system will help share responsibility and build capacity.

How should a book room be organized and maintained?

Book room organization and maintenance are personalized from building to building. The text, Matching Books to Readers: Using Leveled Books in Guided Reading, K-3 (Fountas and Pinnell 1990), offers many suggestions for starting and maintaining a school book room. Share this photo journal below with your literacy team. What else can you do to maximize the book room in your building?

At Northwestern Elementary School, Springfield, Ohio, teachers can check out guided reading books using an electronic system. When books are ready to be returned, teachers place the books on the cart and a volunteer puts them away. The literacy coach, Amanda Husted, works hard with the literacy team to order and maintain a variety of books.

Some schools use a self-check out system. Teachers keep track of the books they have taken from the book room using clothes pins or index cards. 


These are boxes with books. The blue cards have the book title and number of copies

Each teacher has a card packet on this bulletin board. When a teacher checks out a set of books she places the blue card from the book box into her card pocket.

This is a printout from the data base created for the book room at Harding Elementary in Youngstown, Ohio (Genevieve Bodnar, Literacy Coach). Teachers can easily locate titles of books and levels. This also serves as an inventory to aid the literacy team when a new order is needed.

Literacy coach, Prudy Platt from Paul C. Bunn Elementary in Youngstown, Ohio has a section in the book room for Keep Books®. Teachers can use this home-school connection by finding the just right book for children to read at school, then children take the books home to keep.

Heather Myers, literacy coach at William Holmes McGuffey Elementary in Youngstown, Ohio uses the whiteboard in the book room as a communication center with her staff.


  1. Hi,
    I know it a considerable amount of time has passed since this original post, but I was hoping to receive information on implementing an electronic system in a school book room. Thanks!

    1. Maureen,
      Check out School Portal from It's free!

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