So your school is transitioning to the science of reading, but there’s one big problem—you still have all the A-Z leveled readers and predictable books that were purchased to align with your old curriculum and balanced literacy practices.
If you’re looking at all of those books in your guided reading bookroom and classroom library and wondering what to do with them, keep reading for a few ideas!
Don’t get rid of them, repurpose them!
You might think that all of those leveled readers and predictable books have no place in your classroom now, but we wouldn’t want you to get rid of any books! There are a number of ways that you can still make use of these books for writing, spelling, and content area activities, rather than relying on them for reading instruction. This article from The Right to Read Project has some great ideas about how you can repurpose predictable books and even includes sample lesson plans. For example, a predictable picture book that in the past may have been used for the three-cueing system can be repurposed for writing activities. Students can write their own, more detailed narrative story to go along with the pictures.
You may find that some books in your leveled reader collection are nonfiction texts on a particular science topic, like the weather or life cycles. This is great! You can absolutely use these books as a resource to supplement your science instruction. You can also use many of your nonfiction leveled books for vocabulary building.
Reorganize your books
When you move away from the structure of a guided reading bookroom or classroom library that is organized by levels, one major benefit is that you don’t have to rely on pre-packaged bookroom sets from publishers. You can redesign your bookroom according to your instructional goals and your students’ needs and interests. Your bookroom and classroom library should include a mix of high quality literature and nonfiction texts across content areas. If you have students who are still learning phonics patterns, be sure to include decodable books. Also, offer books with diverse representations and perspectives – children need to be able to see themselves in the books they read.
Finally, think about how you can organize your books in a way that supports the curriculum and is easy to use (i.e., genre-based, inquiry-based, or aligned with units like author studies). Here are four ideas from Lisa Hawkins at Ball State University. Remember, your bookroom and classroom library does not have to be static—you can change it up based on what you find works best!
Sources and Further Reading:
Hawkins, L.K. (2021). How to organize a classroom library to support inquiry: 4 systems that work. The Reading Teacher, 75(6), 107-111. doi: 10.1002/trtr.2007
The Right to Read Project (2021, June 19). What do I do with all these predictable books? https://righttoreadproject.com/2021/06/19/what-do-i-do-with-all-these-predictable-books/