Make Reading More Exciting with Classroom Libraries

February 07, 2020

Originally Published in the 2019 School Supply Supplement

One of the more recent purchasing trends we’ve seen in school supply orders is the implementation of individualized classroom libraries.

Schools all over the world are recognizing that developing readers need to progress and learn with books that are intrinsically interesting and tailored to fit students’ specific reading levels. A classroom library provides a go-to space for students to explore new topics at their own pace.

What is a classroom library?

A classroom library is a collection of books, magazines, and other written resources within a classroom. It is an aggregation of age-appropriate texts for the students in your class.

What are the benefits of classroom libraries?

  • A diversity of titles and leveled readers to meet the needs of all students—collections can be based on reading level, genre, theme, and author, including fiction, non-fiction, narrative and non-narrative books
  • Leveled book collections for students reading at, above, and below the benchmark
  • A comprehensive assortment of books that support individual reading, partnered reading, and group reading/discussions
  • Specially selected titles from thousands of publishers that allow students to become successful and enthusiastic readers and writers

How many books are in a classroom library?

There is no exact number of books required for your classroom library. However, it’s important to have a plethora of reading options for your students. Be sure to include books of all sorts of subjects ranging from science to sports, fiction and nonfiction. Each student progresses at their own speed so having books of different reading levels will benefit every student.

It’s worth noting the inevitability of students wanting to read the same book. Having more than one copy of some hot topics or popular books will benefit not only your library, but your students. With this in mind, having about 3 books per student will ensure topic and book availability.

How do you organize a classroom library?

Organizing an effective classroom library comes down to the size of your classroom and the quantity of books. If you have a lot of space, seating can be introduced in the form of bean bag chairs or any other comfortable seating. Of course, you can have a fully-functioning library in your classroom in the form of a bookshelf or small space with books and other reading materials.

When it comes to the texts, organization can come in many ways. By theme, subject, year released, etc. The organization of the books comes down to preference. However, you’ll want to have your books organized in the most efficient way for your students to find what they want to read. Using baskets or milk crates are a great, easy way to organize your texts. Label each container to make finding specific book categories easy for students.

How do I get books for my classroom library?

There are many ways to get books for your classroom library. A budget-friendly option is to rely on donations from friends, family, and even your students. If donations are not an option, local bookstores are packed with books for all ages and reading levels. Of course, our School Supply team is here to help with all your reading book and textbook needs as well. Contact us today to get started with a supply order.


Many ISS School Supply vendors, including Heinemann, School Specialty, Booksource, Follett, and Scholastic, have worked with literary experts to create diverse classroom libraries that are fun, informative, and interesting. Many of these vendors will work with teachers to develop unique classroom library solutions, customized to fit the individual needs of the classroom and teacher.

Ask your ISS rep for more information on how to get started or contact us today to start your classroom library.

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