Sharing Early Literacy Learning Journeys

‘How do you store your books?‘ was a question in the daily5 chat last Saturday. Early years teachers organise, store and use books in their classrooms in ways that suit them and their students.

Using shelves, baskets and labelled bins to organise and store books makes it easy to find a book and return it where it belongs. The books are sorted and organised in a variety of ways:

  • authors: Dr Suess, Mercer Mayer, Mem Fox, Pamela Allen, Paul Jennings
  • series: Grug, Clifford, Spot, Rascal, Zac Power
  • topics of interest: frogs, snakes, spiders, space, pets, Pokemon
  • alphabet books: varied
  • copies of big books: multiple small copies of current big books
  • class books we have made: Our C Book, Our Book of Rhymes, 100 day party, Magnificent Me
  • books we have read: a variety of books that we read as read alouds
  • levelled books: colour coded in levels
  • number books: varied
Baskets of books
A bin of alphabet books
Small copies of current big books
An assortment of class-made books
Colour-coded levelled books
A triangular shelf for all sorts of books
  • How do you organise and store your books in the classroom?

Comments on: "Bins and baskets of books" (8)

  1. In a Year 3 class in my school they have a triangular bookshelf, with a range of books. Often at the end of the school day one or two students will take it upon themselves to sort them into fiction on one side and non-fiction on the other side. As far as I know they’ve never been asked to do this, but some of the students just prefer it this way, so they do it.

    • Hi Bron,

      What a pleasant and positive way to end the day for those students – and an orderly way for the class to start each day!

      Sorting the books into fiction and non-fiction works well on the triangular shelf . This term our unit is Australian Animals so one side of our bookshelf is filled with animal books – easy to see the books and to return them!

      Thanks for your comments Bron,


  2. Louise said:

    Thanks Coral. We have our school reading books in tubs labelled 1-20. These are for 50 students (as you know I am in a team teaching class). The books are all so old and generally undesirable. Some of the boxes only have two books in them! (The state of funding in our education system!) Then we have a box with Red Dot readers and another with Star readers. We have ordered some new books, but the budget only gave us 35 new books/class spread over all the reading levels.
    With my own books, at the moment I have just organised into easy, medium and hard. The boxes are also numbered so the children know which boxes to look in. I may change this when I get more readers. I have managed to get nearly 800 books now, but I need more books for my ‘readers’ boxes.

    • Hi Louise,

      Schools spend money in different ways, I guess!

      I have lots of my own books that are NOT colour coded – but I know the approximate levels of those books. I go to the Salvation Army and St Vinnies occasionally to get books for little. School fetes are a source of second hand books too.

      I have a list I could email: a list of ‘real’ books or trade books (as opposed to ‘readers’) levelled at RR levels. For example, some Dr Suess books (10, 15, 18), Grug books (14,16, 18), Clifford (18, 20), Pat Hutchins books (15, 18, 19) and Pamela Allen (18, 19).

      What are the Red Dot readers?


      • Louise said:

        I also go to op shops etc to pick up books and I’m always buying books too. Cairns City Library have a sale on the 12th, 13th and 14th of August. I haven’t been to one before, have you?

        I would love the list. I have all the Grug books, most Dr Seuss and Pamela Allen so it would be great.

        For some reason we call the books levelled between 20 and 25 Red Dot Readers, and above 25 Star Readers. I’ll see if I can find out why. I thought that was an Ed Q thing, but obviously not.

        Do you have the books that belong to your school mixed in with your own books or stored separately?

        Thanks, Louise

      • Hi Louise,

        I have been to library sales with mixed results – depending if one is early or not!

        I’ll email the list to you. I do not colour code any of these books – they are in author baskets, series baskets or mixed in on shelves to encourage reading for enjoyment.

        Yes, I mix my books in with all the books. Mine are named but I probably lose five or six a year.

        Happy class reading Louise…


  3. Louise said:

    Thanks Coral. How have you done the colour coding of your books?

    • Hi Louise,

      Our colour coding uses Reading Recovery levels.
      It was organised some years ago with each RR level having a different colour – 1 is blue, 2 is orange, 3 is yellow, 4 is red and so on. The colours are arbitrary choices. Like everything, it’s not perfect – but it’s a workable system.

      Another school I was in used one colour for 3 RR levels – and I preferred that because I didn’t need as many bins or boxes to house levelled books.

      I don’t stress the levels with children because there are hundreds of books in the room that children can choose to read – it is all about reading books; not levels!
      How do you house levelled books in your school?


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