Today, the librarian at my school and I are going to embark on a huge journey to genre-fy the fiction section of our library. I am so excited I can barely stand it!
Students are forever asking, “Where are the love/scary/real/etc. books?” I followed the lead of many fellow teachers and tweeters and genre-fied my classroom library using backets.
I feel that having the books organized this way has done wonders for my students. They immediately know exactly where the “scary” books or “real life” books are located. They know that if they read a book from a basket, there are others that are similar just waiting to be read.
While talking with librarians through twitter, someone brought up that they were scared organizing like this would cause students to get stuck on a certain type of book. I believe that yes, they might get “stuck”…but don’t we all go through periods of being “stuck” on a certain genre? I’m a dystopian junkie; I want to read them all! But is there anything wrong with that? Even if a student gets “stuck,” we ask teachers and librarians are there to guide them to their next interest when they’re ready.
I’ve also found in my own personal classroom that students also have branched out into genres they wouldn’t have read before. Before I sorted into genres, I was trying to get a student to read a historical fiction book. My student fought me every step…”It’ll be boring. I don’t care about history. It sounds boring,” on and on. After I sorted, I found her sitting on the floor with one of the historical fiction baskets in her lap. She picked out Fever 1793 and hasn’t looked back since! I asked her what made her change her mind, and she said that having them organized together gave to her a chance to really look at the books and truly realize that historical fiction didn’t mean a book with a “lame story about history that was really just boring facts” (her words lol), but rather an interesting story that was completely different than her own life.
So, as we go through the process of this journey, I will keep you updated with commentary and pictures of our progress. I have to give Sherry G. (LibraryFanatic on twitter) a special thanks for all of her encouragement and helpful suggestions on this topic!
Wish me luck!