Written by Casey Keyser, MSEA Second Grade Teacher
Having a welcoming space for your book center will help with your students falling in love with reading. My goal as a teacher is to have my students enjoy reading and to feel comfortable trying new books throughout the school year. My favorite item in my book center are these magnetic book holders (really a spice rake on Amazon).
I also grabbed these Big Joe bean bag chairs in teal and purple from Amazon, you can find all my favorite goodies for my book center here. I like to have some bookshelves, book bins, a rug, some comfy chairs, and a lamp. This gives your area a different vibe than the rest of your classroom.
Once the students love your book center and the books start to become worn, I have a tip on how to give your books a second life.
What happens when you have a well-loved book that falls apart and loses its binding?
My students loved the Captain Underpants series so much that half of the book fell out and went missing. I decided to take the other half and cut the pages into one-inch stripes to create a lot of paper bookmarks for the students to use. I love doing this with a graphic novel or chapter book with pictures so the students can look into the bookmarks to see a funny section. These are quick and easy to make and gives your book another life.
While we are talking about books on their last leg, I always try to save a book before I cut it to pieces. I recommend always having a Book Hospital basket in your book center so that books can be repaired by the teacher. I use library-grade tape and hot glue to mend my books that have started to fall apart.
After a student is done reading a book, I have them fill out a Tweet form to summarize the text and to recommend a book to their classmates. At the end of the week, I actually use our class Twitter and tweet out all the book recommendations from students. We follow the journey of lots of other classrooms from around the world and they are able to communicate with us as well. The students enjoy being connected to other students and sharing their love of reading.
You can grab these Twitter Tweet templates here.
In my book center, I like to have a digital or technology component to help with engagement and access. Students that have a difficult time reading or need good examples of books being read to them can access this through website and OR code books. To learn more about how to create your own QR code listening center, check out the blog post I have posted here.
My students love to listen to a good audio or animated book on websites such as Epic! Books, Flocabulary and Raz-Kids. Since each of these websites has a class code or password associated with it, I have this handy tech code and password cheat sheet available for all students to look at in the book center. You can add more than just your book websites, I do it for all of my online platforms.
Casey Keyser is a third-grade teacher at Butterfly Ridge Elementary in Frederick County, Maryland. She was recently recognized as the national winner of the NEA Foundation’s 2021 Teaching in Excellence Award. Casey is the proud owner of the Education Resource Blog, Fair Winds Teaching, and loves to connect with her education community through her TeacherPayTeacher’s business.