Monday, August 31, 2015

Home Run Books

Last day of August - how did that happen?????

I've spent part of my summer organizing my classroom library in my new classroom. So much fun! I've got a lot of books - I've had my students do a math activity every year estimating how many books are in my library. Conservative estimates put it over well over 5000 books. It's a very crowded room.

I've got the books organized into buckets - divided into fiction & nonfiction, then by topic, genre, reading level within the genre, authors and more. I always have a few students who volunteer to help me keep it organized over the year. Couldn't do it without them!

One of the best parts of my job (special education resource teacher) is helping kids find those 'home run' books - books that turn them into readers. I love 'touring' new kids around my library and showing them possibilities. I generally send them away with a handful for them to try out. Often, we'll read the first bits together and see which ones excite them.

Once they know how to find books that are at their level and are about things they're interested in, they dive right in. Then, before long, they start expanding those tastes and trying new things. Having the power to choose and the time to explore is often a key to reading success.

Do you remember one of your 'home run' books? One of the first books that turned you into a reader? I think one of my first was the Encyclopedia Brown series, then Nancy Drew & the Boys. I still like mysteries now!


  1. Impressive collection you've got there. :-D

    I don't remember which book was my home run book. I'm from a family of readers, so I've always loved reading.

  2. That's really cool you have your own private library for the kids.
    I remember The Mouse and the Motorcycle, so that might've been the book.

  3. I love the way you've organized these books. And I love that you're helping the students find the perfect book for them!

    I wonder if all writers would secretly like to be librarians? :) I used to play librarian when I was a kid.

  4. Now that you're totally organized, can you come over and do that for my house?

    As to the "home run" books those have to be Anne of Green Gables and Alice in Wonderland.

  5. 'tis different in my country since we haven't really had teen books before... so I grew up reading Russian, Serbian, German, French and other classics... and I'm not sorry a bit for it :) 'tis better growing up to Tolstoy and Dostoevsky than to modern YA crap...

  6. Misha - you're so lucky! My dad didn't read a fiction book until he retired! :)

    Alex - that's a good one! It's in that collection you see there :)

    Elizabeth - totally agree - being a librarian is a lot of fun!!

    Lee - Anne of Green Gables was a HUGE one for me, too! And I'll pop on over :)

    Dezzy - there is sure a lot to be said for classic literature - I loved the Count of Monte Cristo, Swiss Family Robinson, Robinson Crusoe, Robin Hood. So many amazing stories of strength and triumph over evil!

  7. That's so awesome you get to turn kids into readers. I love that. It must be so fun to pick out new books and keep everything organized. Glad you have some helpers. A lot of my favorite first books were by Judy Blume, Beverly Cleary, and I also remember the Pinballs by Betsy Byars.

  8. Are those "conservative estimates" in the ballpark, or even close to it?

    I can't remember which book sparked me, but I read a lot as a kid, and I'm glad that I still do.

    Looks like you've set up a very welcoming space for the kids there.

  9. I was a reluctant reader myself, but a wise teacher like you turned me onto books by tapping into my passion for horses. My gateway book was one by Patsey Grey, one of her YA horse stories published in the 60s. From there I gobbled up Walter Farley and Margurite Henry's books then was game to expand into other realistic fiction, fantasy and sci fi.

  10. Shell - I love my job! :) And the Pinballs - didn't read that until my daughter was old enough and she shared it with me - great story!

    Jeff - thanks! I did my own estimate add came up with a number closer to 6000 so I think they're pretty good :)

    Laurel - I've got a couple of buckets of horse books!!! They work for me as well :)

  11. Your books make me happy. I think that the very first book that impacted me were our first grade readers with Dick and Jane. "Come, Spot. Come and go." I still remember loving to read those words. Then the next impact book was Little House on the Prairie.


  12. Wow! That's an amazing classroom library. In middle school a teacher lent me V.C. Andrews' books since I eyed them on her shelf and I fell in love with books reading them.

  13. Teresa - Great choices!! Little House has created so many readers over the years!

    Medeia - thanks - and there are a few more shelves I didn't photograph :) That's awesome! Love teachers who take those risks :)

  14. Oh, my! I could get lost in there!

  15. Your classroom library is awesome! What a treat for kids and so many choices to find a home run. I think my home run was Beverly Cleary. I adored her books. And Roald Dahl and Judy Blume too. But, I think the Ramona books were first. I just loved her! :)

  16. Jamie,
    I LOVE your classroom!! We need more teachers like you. I recently spent the night at a friend's house, and much to my dismay, could not find a single book, or even a magazine to browse over my coffee. With that discovery, the new furnishings, paintings, curtains seemed so sterile. I was lost and unhappy.

    I think we all remember our individual "Home Run" books.

    Thanks for all that you do.

  17. Love the term 'Home Run Book'. It's a brilliant way of describing the joy of falling in love with a book for the first time. I think the first of my many home run books was one by Enid Blyton. (Thankfully, my mom got us started early).

  18. Olivia - that's exactly what I'm hoping for :)

    Jess - those are all awesome books and are those home run books for so many kids!!

    Yvonne - thank you!! :) What a sad house without any books or magazines - I'd be lonely!!

    Paradoxical Sprite - Enid Blyton!!! Great choice - I don't remember the books as much as I do the fact that I loved them!

  19. Aw, how cool that you get to inspire a love of reading in kids like that! That's awesome! :)

    Oddly enough, I don't think I had a "home run" book as a kid. Not because I was anti-reading, though. I was actually interested in reading before I even knew how to read! (I'd pretend to read books that were lying around the house and everything. LOL.)

  20. You sound like a wonderful teacher. The kids are lucky to have you!
    I was an early, avid reader, fortunate enough to find the books I loved from a very early age. I remember reading The Bobbsey Twins before I started to school, and then being amazed at the concept of a library. (Free books! Wow!)

  21. Heather - I have a great job! :) That's so awesome :)

    Beth - thank you! I'd forgotten the Bobbsey Twins, but I devoured those ones too! Libraries are amazing places :)