Book bins, book boxes and shopping bags Oh My! How do you help your students stay organized during independent reading time?
There are so many different ways to organize students’ books, and you have to find what’s right for you, your classroom space, and your students.
Today’s post is all about the endless possibilities for organizing student books for independent reading time. Because remember- in a Reader’s Workshop- independent reading is NOT a center (AKA Classroom Library Center) it is something every child does every day and it starts on the 1st day of school!
Below are my absolute favorite ways of organizing student books on a TEACHER BUDGET (if you know what I mean!)
In my opinion, the easiest way to organize if you have a SMALL classroom space are student book baggies! Each student gets a baggie with their name on it for storing their books. You can get fancy and let them design their own name tags for the bag or decorate with stickers! (or not).
These gallon sized baggies slide nicely into student desks or chair pockets, making them easily accessible for independent reading time! You can grab these at your local grocery store. If you choose this route expect the bags to rip and tear eventually….meaning buy extra baggies and replace the baggies every so often as students need a fresh, new bag.
Another favorite baggie to use are the 2.5 gallon sized! These are great for students if you have LARGE picture books that won’t fit in a gallon sized baggie. Perfect for Kinder, First, and Second grade readers!
IF you are RICH (or are blessed with a nice classroom budget- do those still exist?) you can find sturdy book bins through Lakeshore Learning (first photo) or Really Good Stuff. You will most likely NOT have to replace these.
If you are NOT RICH or on a budget (so like everyone reading this) you can still find magazine holders on a dime! Kids LOVE decorating these every year!
These are the most affordable cardboard book boxes I have found on the market to date. They are from IKEA. A pack of 4 boxes is $0.99 y’all! If you don’t have an ikea near you, just order online and have it shipped to you! Easy peasy!
If you aren’t into cardboard, but still want to find affordable book bins, look no further.
Head to your local dollar store or Walmart and peruse the kitchen section. You can find ice cube bins that are sturdy and durable for a few bucks. Turning these into book boxes is a great way to get that Lakeshore Learning “look” without going in debt!
One last idea is to use baskets to organize student books.
One teacher in TISD calls them ‘shopping bags’ Isn’t that ADORABLE!?
You can find these at your local dollar store and depending on the season Target Dollar Spot!
The last thing to think about before deciding is storage!
If you have lots of shelf space in your classroom, go for the book boxes/bins/shopping bags. I recommend spreading out the boxes on different shelves around the room so that you don’t have a traffic jam while getting started with independent reading.
If you don’t have shelf storage or have a smaller classroom, go with the baggies! But make sure students have a place to store the bags of books (like a desk, chair pocket, or cubbie). Or plan for some crates you can keep them in and make a plan for a FAST passing out come independent reading time.
What’s your favorite go-to storage for student books? Comment below to let me know!