A classroom library is essential in order to support readers during independent reading. These books should be easily accessible to all readers—meeting the needs of struggling readers as well as accelerated ones.
However, students should also read books on their "just-right" reading levels in order to improve fluency and comprehension. With this in mind, the books should include all reading levels and represent many genres.
Key Components of a Classroom Library
Teachers can set up a library collection that is inviting and makes all students feel welcome and inspired to be participants in the independent reading experience. It is important to include the following:
- Books for literature study
- Picture books
- Reference books—dictionaries, atlases, and thesauruses
- Books categorized by topic, author, and genre
- Series books such as Dear America or the Little House books
- Books recommended by students
- Award-winning books (such as Caldecott, Newbery, etc.)
- Leveled books for guided, independent, and home reading
- Short stories
- Journals, magazines, newspapers
The library should be well organized so that the students can navigate it independently. The goal of independent reading is to make students successful independent readers!