What Works Wednesday: Book Bins & Beyond

For the past several years I really have been placing an emphasis on Independent Reading. This year it has gone to an entire new level thanks to the addition of book bins. I first read about book bins in a post from Franki Sibberson on the blog A Year of Reading. I knew immediately I needed to implement them in my room.
You see, it’s not enough to discuss what my readers are currently reading. I now ask them what they plan on reading next and if they have a book or two in their book bin. Precious reading time has been lost due the readers telling me they are looking for a book, still looking for a book, or can’t find a book. Gone are the days of “I don’t have a book” or “I can’t find a book.” So let’s talk about book bins and beyond.
Get the books:
First off, I’m a “bookmonger”. While I would love to be able to purchase the newest and hottest releases, that just isn’t possible.  I case the public library and check them out on my library card. I then sprinkle them around the room for my readers. We have a magnificent library in our building too, so I also snag books from our school library.  I think about what my readers enjoy and I comb through the popular books. Then I check those books out under my name and shower them around my room. My readers have actually found it easier to chose a just right book when the selection is smaller and more focused to their liking.
Put the books in the bins:
Here’s the honest to goodness truth, the power comes from me talking about the book and suggesting it. Once I talk about the book and create a frenzy, the readers are all clambering for the books. The book then goes in their bin. I simply write the reader’s name on a post-it note and they drop it in the appropriate bin. If multiple students are interested in the book, then I add additional names on the inside of the book.
Share the book love:
I begin every reading session by quickly asking my students what they are reading now and if they have a book in their bin. If they do not, they use the last five minutes of the lesson for book browsing. They enjoy seeing what books are sprinkled around the room, as this changes almost daily. They also like to see what other readers have in their bin. Last but not least, they *adore* the LOVE THAT BOOK recommendation wall. It’s one thing if their reading teacher recommends a book, but it takes it to an entire new level when they see what their peers are reading. FullSizeRender
Book Bins & Beyond, it works, it really works.


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9 thoughts on “What Works Wednesday: Book Bins & Beyond

  1. Great tips here, Amy. I especially like the Love That Book walll. You encourage your readers to read widely by providing many choices.

  2. Teaching middle school makes this nearly impossible, but I love all of it! It reminds me of Stephen Layne’s book “Igniting a Passion for Reading”. Have you read it? I think you’d love it! I can see your passion, and that of your students, all over this post!!

  3. Your photos are revealing – you have great ways to showcase the books. I love the book talks, the bins – sets of texts the students can easily find and choose from. Especially, I like the way you begin by asking your readers what they are currently reading and if they have a book in their bin. Great strategy – a quick check in! Obviously, independent reading is alive and well in your classroom!

  4. Great idea Amy. Eliminates wasted time looking for the next read because it is there waiting for you. You whet their appetite for the books with your recommendations. having a selection of books scattered about your room makes it much easier for your students to find a book that fits them.

  5. You post so reminds me of Donalyn Miller, the Book Whisperer – she, too, is a super-bookmonger who advocates for those book talks. That Love That Book wall is priceless!

  6. Thanks for the peek into your classroom(s). I work in a PreK-3 school, so it’s interesting to learn about the process of book selection for older students. I, too, do a sales pitch for books. Just today I unpacked our Scholastic book box in front of my K students and quickly previewed each new book. They couldn’t wait to get their hands on them and insisted I read one immediately! 🙂

  7. Your book love is so evident in this post. I’m a book monger too! And I constantly filled my classroom with library books. I knew we were kindred spirits!

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