After posting a picture of this year’s Spanish classroom library, I got a lot of questions. So I decided it was worthy of a blog post to show you some more pictures, help you start your own library, as well as explain how we use this class library year round.
Where did everything come from?
- Short book shelves – all rooms in our building came with them
- Tall black shelf – a gift from a co-worker who did not need it
- Rug – Ikea (it may have been bought for my laundry room, but I took it for school)
- Black chairs – Walmart during back to college sales 2 years ago similar here
- Large Wire Book Display – Amazon – similar here
- Small Blue Display – a teacher supply book (it is flimsy cardboard & I would not recommend it)
- Pillows – Target dollar spot clearance this summer ($5 for all 4!)
- Little Pink Individual Book Displays (on top of black shelf) – Target dollar spot clearance this summer
- Maps – The maps were being given away for free from the school library where I student taught. They were free with old National Geographic magazines. I got them laminated and they were one of the only decorations in my first year classroom. They may not be super accurate, since some are almost 50 years old, but they work as decor.
- 33 Razones Para Leer Poster – It was a print I found online & had printed in color and laminated at the local copy shop.
- Book Bins – Most are the cheep plastic storage containers without lids. You can get them at the dollar store or in big packs during back to college. – similar here
- Magazine Holders – Ikea similar here
- Book Labels – My labels are just to match the books I happen to have. You can download the labels for free here. I just printed them on colored card stock, laminated, and then hot glued in the bins. Green labels are children’s books, blue are more advance, yellow are non-fiction, and orange are magazines. A later addition was having my high school student assistant use the colored garage sale stickers to write the same bin label on the sticker, and put in all books in that bin. (You would think that would make it idiot proof for high school students, but some never cease to amaze me with their laziness to put things back where they came from).
- Mundo en tus manos newspapers – These are the colored papers on the blue shelf and are an amazing resource created by Martina Bex. Each week I print a class set on colored paper and keep up front. After that week, a few of each old issues are added to the free reading library.
- Magazines – I use some frequent flyer miles each year to get free subscriptions to Spanish magazines, usually just People en Español. Also, when ever I travel I get the bilingual airplane magazines, plus buy many others when I see them in Spanish.
- Grants – I have written many posts about how to write a grant to get books for your classroom. I have personally gotten three, two from a local education trust, and one from my state language organization, IWLA.
- Book Promotions – Each year I get as many books in Spanish for free from Kelloggs as I can.
- School Book Fair – Our school sets aside a whole box of books in Spanish from the book fair for me. In the Spring they do a buy 1 get 1 free. I either put in a purchase request, or have even gotten the librarian to use some Scholastic points to get me some for free.
- Secondhand Stores – I always check used bookstores for books in Spanish. You never know what you will find.
- Retiring Teachers – I was lucky that the teacher who I replaced left her Spanish book collection for me.
- My own $$ – Every time I go to a conference, I come home with a bag full of new TPRS books at conference special pricing. It does not help that I have a need to have every new TPRS reader that come out. If I only had a limited amount of money I would now exclusively just buy TPRS leveled readers. These are the books that my students read the most, and find the most success with. They also have a glossary in the back of the book, for easy look up of a new word. Here are some of my favorite sites: Fluency Matters, Mira Canion, Tprs Books, Spanish Cuentos, One Good Story & cireading.
|more advanced shelf with Mundo en tus Manos news on top|
|Non fiction, magazines, and art supplies on the bottom shelf.
On the top are my newest books on display
|Easier books and TPRS book display of my current recommendations|
What do you do with your library?
Starting second semester of Spanish 1, we do free reading to start class every Tuesday and Thursday. We start with 5 minutes and build up from there. By Spanish 4 the goal is to read 15 minutes. I embed a YouTube video timer in our Google Slide show with instructions. Once everyone is settled with a book, including me, I start the timer and we just read. I pass out a simple log for students to keep track of what page they are on, but I never actually collect it.
Once the timer goes off we spend a couple minutes talking about what we read. Sometimes it is in small groups, or with partners, sometimes we discuss as a class. If a new Mundo en tus manos news paper came out, there will always be students who want to talk about some interesting news. If the interest is there as a class, sometime we even pull up another article or video to explore a topic more. They think we are “wasting time,” but really we are all learning about current events culture together as a class.
Besides free reading, students are able to read as a fast finisher activity and I even let them check out a book if they would like. (I just have a paper list with their name and book on my desk). As Mike Peto said in a recent post, I am working hard to make reading a pleasurable activity in my room. I try to guide students to pick books they will enjoy, and have as little as accountability as possible. Some kids may just flip through picture books or magazines, but at least they are in Spanish. The best are the students who have read almost all of the TPRS novels and start asking for recommendations 🙂
Finally, please remember this is my 6th year teaching and this library has been a high priority and work in progress the entire time. My first year, I think I had ten books. Here was my little library my second year after my first grant. So please do not feel bad if your current library is not #goals. Make one step this year to get funding for some TPRS novels to get started.
Do you have a classroom library? How do you use it?