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The Literacy Teacher Edit, Part 2

By Katie Caprino
 | Jul 26, 2021
kids at classroom library

A fan of Netflix’s Get Organized With The Home Edit, I immediately thought about connections to literacy instruction. In Part 1 of this blog series, I discussed THE connections to writing. In this blog post, I share ideas about how to apply THE method to cultivating resources.

The Library Edit 

Here is how I recommend applying THE to curating your face-to-face or virtual classroom library.

Edit: Take stock of the texts available to your students by asking the following questions:  

  • What topics are present and not present? 
  • What types of genres are present and not present? 
  • What student reading abilities can or cannot access these texts?  
  • In what media are books available and which are not available?  
  • Whose voices are present and whose are not present?  
  • What settings are present and not present? 
  • What cultures are present and not present? 
  • What perspectives are present and not present? 
  • What abilities are present and not present? 
  • What makes sense in terms of different (physical, virtual, or both) piles? How should books be organized (e.g., by spine colors, levels, genres, topics)? 
  • What organizational products (e.g., bins, shelves, virtual libraries, lists) work for my readers? 

Depending on your students’ ages, you could have students edit their at-home libraries at the same time you edit the class library. Teachers of students working remotely can learn a lot about book access and the types of books that are more accessible than others. Consider what books need to be added to your library and which should be donated or be stored elsewhere.  

Assembly: In this step, you put together your classroom library according to the structure determined in the editing phase. You may put physical books on particular shelves that make sense for students’ heights. Virtual libraries can be assembled on Google slides in ways that maximize accessibility. 

Upkeep: You will want to make sure that students are a part of maintaining the books within the library. For example, if books are organized according to genre, students need to know genre characteristics. If new books come into the library, you and your students might think about which books to donate or put in a storage bin or another virtual library slide for now. 

Applying THE process to classroom libraries is not a one-and-done event. As you acquire more physical books or find additional virtual libraries online, THE process will have to be continually applied. Having students edit the library each year or at the beginning of each quarter will reveal new steps for the library. Different groups of students may like certain topics more than others, for example. Make sure to allow your students’ reading interests and abilities to inform the editing of your classroom libraries. Students’ insight into your classroom library can be helpful and meaningful as we aim for our ultimate goal: cultivating lifelong readers. 

The Technology Resources Edit

And, finally, here is how I apply THE to the myriad technology resources I have come across during this period of remote teaching: 

Edit: If you are like me, you have lists of technology resources that colleagues have created. My list was small at the beginning of the school year, but now it’s becoming quite long. Inspired by both Stephanie Affinito’s post “Organize, Collaborate and More With Google Keep” and THE process, I embarked on organizing my technology resources links so that they can be useful. 

First I copied and pasted all of my URLs in one document. Then, I color coded my resources to create labels such as Early Literacy Resources, Virtual Classroom Backgrounds, Secondary Methods Resources, Children’s Picture Book Virtual Libraries, and Young Adult Virtual Libraries. Then I critically reflected on the quality of the resources and pared down each list to the top five resources. That was the hardest part for me!

Assembly: Once I had my labels and top five resources, I used Google’s Keep function (Padlet is another tool that might work for this) and created sticky notes for each of my categories. I then created lists with the resources’ hyperlinks.

Upkeep: Upkeep will be hard, especially considering that a quick look at social media can add more resources to my running list. But with every new resource I find, I consider whether this new resource should replace an old one or maybe be kept in reserve to switch in later. Either way, maintaining my resource lists will help me find my resources more quickly so that I can incorporate them into my teaching or recommend them to my students more easily. 

Go Forth and Edit 

I hope that these blog posts give you a few ways to think about applying THE to your classroom writing instruction, libraries, and technology resources. Please let me know how you applying THE method to your literacy instruction and professional development! 
 
Katie Caprino is an assistant professor of PK–12 New Literacies at Elizabethtown College. She teaches and researches in the areas of children’s, middle grade, and young adult literature; technology integration in the literacy classroom; and the teaching of writing and blogs frequently at her blog
Katie Reviews Books (katiereviewsbooks.wordpress.com). You can follow her on Twitter @KCapLiteracy.

 

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