Sunday, January 11, 2015

My Own Reading Rainbow

One educational blog that I consistently read is Burkins &Yaris Think Tank for 21st Century Literacy. My classes are currently participating in a bit of action research by organizing our classroom library as suggested in the Burkins &Yaris blog post What Color is Your Library? We took all of the leveled chapter books out of their labeled baskets and arranged them according to color. Our book shelves are now a reading rainbow!
I tweeted out to Burkins & Yaris to let them know I was trying it and they asked me to report my observations.
This is what I have noticed after one week:
  • it was important to keep the nonfiction books leveled due to text complexity
  • the children saw books they didn't even know about before
  • the majority of our chapter books are blue
  • students choose books with red or black covers most often
  • we had to problem solve to decide if we should count a book as colored if it had a white cover but colored writing (yes, we used the title color to shelve it)
  • students enjoy choosing books that are not on their level
  • we did do a quick reminder of choosing just right books
  • the library stayed neater than usual


  1. At one point in my career, I had very rigid ideas about how a classroom library should be organized (which included ideas such as books must be organized in bins by author, topics of interest, or genre). Your experiment has reminded me how important it is to experiment and the common denominator of success is this: intention. Do we know what we're doing and why. I love that you've tried something new and I love how this experiment seems to have acquainted students with books they may never have found otherwise. I hope your spirit of innovation becomes contagious!

  2. Thank you for your inspiration and ideas. I am getting ready to share lessons with my students using the book Fifty Cents and a Dream. Your insight into the book is what made me choose it. Check back for my blog entry on that!