Home / Lucy Calkins & Colleagues /

TCRWP Classroom Libraries

“The research on reading achievement is unequivocal and long-standing, and it shows clearly that reading is . . . everything. Children’s reading engagement, including the amount and variety of what they read, is directly linked not just to reading achievement, but also to overall academic achievement.”Lucy Calkins

 
Classroom Libraries

The Power of a Great Classroom Library

"The truth is, the kind of readers that you build will grow to match the libraries that you build. If you want the young people in your care to grow up, accustomed to discovering an author and then reading more books by that writer, then your libraries need to make that likely. If you want young people to fall in love with characters, rooting for them, learning from them, weeping when they are hurt, your libraries need to make that happen. If you want young people to grow up, expecting to experiment with new kinds of stories, the books you put before them can teach that. So, too, your libraries can teach children that the world is endlessly fascinating, that issues are complex and can be argued from different perspectives, that lessons from history apply to today. The next generation can grow up, delighting in good writing and taking pleasure in language and humor, as well as exciting plots. They can expect that combinations of books spark ideas. The challenge is to nourish our children with books that will make them into the readers, writers, and citizens that we long for them to become."Lucy Calkins

Classroom LibrariesKids who have access to great books become readers. There is simply nothing that makes teaching reading easier, that gets kids reading with tremendous volume, or that lifts reading skills higher than a collection of truly fabulous books.

The Teachers College Reading and Writing Project has developed state-of-the-art classroom libraries for each grade level, K–8. Curated by Lucy Calkins and TCRWP colleagues along with a team of literacy leaders and children’s literature experts, these libraries contain 400–700 leveled books at each grade level—all organized into collections, shelves, and bins based on level, genre, topic, and available in versions for students reading both at and below benchmark.

Each of the TCRWP Classroom Libraries is a miniature version of a great bookstore—if you can imagine a bookstore run by the country’s greatest readers and the country’s greatest teachers. The libraries contain books for kids who like action and adventure, books for kids who like sports, books for kids who like to travel to other times and worlds. There are books for kids who want to learn about history and space and machines, and books for kids who need to see themselves in stories. And every collection has been carefully and thoughtfully designed to lure kids into reading, and to move them up levels of complexity.

About the TCRWP Classroom Libraries

Classroom Libraries

As the TCRWP team worked to develop these libraries, several key ideas guided the selection process:

  • The libraries aim to introduce as many authors and titles as possible, with books selected for high interest, richness (books that can be mined again and again), and quality of writing and content.
  • The libraries include some all-star classics, but also many of the newest cutting-edge titles.
  • To ensure all students have access to high-quality, high-interest books, libraries for students reading significantly below benchmark are available for grades 1–8.
  • A helpful Guide (K–2, 3–5, 6–8) and a set of grade-specific tools help teachers organize the books and make them inviting and accessible to children.

A Note About the Upper-Grade Libraries: Please know that the titles in the TCRWP Classroom Libraries were evaluated and recommended by educators and librarians from across the country and around the world, and reviewed and vetted by the country’s leading experts in children’s literacy and literature. Titles were chosen for their high-interest topics, rich literary qualities, and strong potential to develop critical thinking.

Because the upper grades libraries include titles with content appropriate for maturing students, some of the books contain strong language, themes involving death, coming of age, peer pressure, and similar mature content. To ensure your students are exploring content that matches what you understand to be their social and emotional development, you may wish to review titles before introducing them to students.

 

Tools and Resources

Included with each complete library or available for separate purchase (with a minimum of two Individual Library Shelves) are box sets of TCRWP Tools and Resources. These invaluable resources will help you use your library more effectively to lift the level of student achievement and engage kids.

Each grade-level Tools and Resources pack includes:

A Guide to the TCRWP Classroom Libraries
A Guide to the TCRWP Classroom Libraries

In the Guide, you’ll find detailed discussions on topics including:

  • The research base for the development of the Classroom Libraries
  • Ways to set up, introduce, and manage your library
  • The content of “shelves,” how books were selected, and how they can be used in various instructional contexts
  • Assessment, leveling of books, and matching books to readers
  • Teaching methods for reading aloud, independent reading, conferring and small-group work, partnerships, and book clubs
Classroom Libraries Book Level Labels
Book Level Labels

The Tools and Resources pack includes miniature level labels designed to match the illustrated level bin cards. Reshelving of books then becomes a job that students can take on as part of their book shopping routines or you might specifically assign a team of “classroom librarians” or “bibliographers” to head up this aspect of library maintenance.

Book Bin Label Cards
Book Bin Label Cards

Book Bin Label Cards help teachers arrange and categorize books by reading levels and also in a variety of other ways that support teaching and learning.

Once readers have learned to select books that are within reach, teachers won’t want their baskets to be titled with levels only. Students will be drawn to select books from baskets with labels such as “Kids in Charge,” stuffed with books like The Stories Julian Tells, Flat Stanley, and Judy Moody. If kids like a book in a basket labeled “Misunderstood,” they’ll probably read the whole basket. By choosing just one book, kids will not only get more reading done they’ll be drawn into the deeper reading and cross-text thinking they’ll be asked to do throughout the reading workshop

Sticky-Note Pads
Sticky-Note Pads

A collection of Sticky-Note Pads supports students as they read and think, acting as lenses to promote close, active reading. The Sticky Notes support a variety of reading strategies and help kids read with extra alertness, jotting details, noticing things they wouldn’t have noticed otherwise.

Readers will use Sticky Notes as a “quick jot” to flag favorites and call out “must-reads” for others, or most importantly, as a way to remind themselves to return to certain pages during their partner conversations to support their thinking, talking, and writing about the book. Readers will also decide to leave some of the Sticky Notes in a book as tips for future readers.

 

Representative Titles...

K–2 Grade Level Classroom Libraries

Gr. 1–2 Below Benchmark Classroom Libraries

Gr. 3–5 Grade Level Classroom Libraries

Gr. 3–5 Below Benchmark Classroom Libraries

Gr. 6–8 Grade Level Classroom Libraries

Gr. 6–8 Below Benchmark Classroom Libraries

 

Reading-Level Ranges...

Library Reading Level Ranges, K–2

Library Reading Level Ranges, 3-5

Library Reading Level Ranges, 6-8

Download the Shelf-by-Shelf Reading Levels, K-8
Download the Additional Shelf Reading Levels