students sitting on the floor of the classroom library reading

A classroom library is a great way to get books in front of your students and inspire their love of reading. Reading is such a vital skill for students to master, as proficient readers have more confidence, better social skills, and more lifetime success. Unlock your student’s full potential with these useful ideas to make your classroom library fun and engaging for everyone:

Stock a Variety of Books

Stocking a variety of books, from different authors, on different topics, and at different levels, is the most important thing you can do for your classroom library. Offer students lots of choices and watch their curiosity grow as they explore new interests. Include authors from different backgrounds, countries, and ethnicities to expand their world view. Highlight authors from different demographics from time to time (see “Pick a Fun Theme” section below) to bring their works more into the student’s view. While some teachers may choose to only include books that are at grade level for their classroom, we recommend incorporating books from all levels so that students can always find something comfortable to read, or can go for something a little more challenging.

Put it in Plain Sight

Don’t tuck your library away in the back corner of your classroom…put it up front and center so it’s highly visible and accessible for all students. When you push your classroom library into a secluded place, it’s kind of an “out of sight, out of mind” scenario. Students won’t see the books as much, so they won’t be as engaged with them as they could be. Place your classroom library near the classroom entrance, forcing students to walk past it every day. You’ll be surprised at how much more they interact and browse from this simple change.

In addition to increasing the visibility of the entire library, it’s also important for students to be able to see which books are available. Many teachers love the look and organization that colored bins offer, but we don’t recommend this approach. Sure, it gives great Instagram pics, but if you really want your students to have interest in the books in your classroom library, take them out of the bins and make the spines visible. When students can easily see what’s there without having to pull out each bin, they’re more likely to explore books that they may have overlooked. Stacking books next to each other also keeps them in better condition than keeping them in bins.

Pick a Fun Theme

Don’t overlook the classroom library when decorating your classroom for the year. If you choose a classroom decor theme each year, be sure to include the classroom library in the design. If you don’t do a classroom theme, you can still choose a fun theme for just the library. Go with a bright and colorful scheme to draw in student interest and increase engagement. You can also change up the library theme from month to month, highlighting holidays or special events occurring that month (think Women’s History Month, Hispanic Heritage Month, Happy Holidays, Springtime, etc.)

Keep it Organized

A disorganized library isn’t useful for anyone, so make organization a priority for your classroom library. We suggest using the same organization method as the school or local libraries, as this will be what students need to know to access these other resources. Most libraries use something akin to the Dewey Decimal system. You can also use classroom library apps to track and tag your library’s books, which will let you use your smartphone to scan the book’s barcode to create a library inventory. These apps are incredibly useful for keeping up with what books you have, categorizing books by topic or other features, and easily finding books that students ask for.

Maintain your library’s organization by implementing strict rules for students taking and returning books. We suggest adding a return bin to your library where students can easily drop off books they are finished with. Assign a student helper each week to be in charge of returning these books to their proper space on the shelf. This will help keep the classroom library organized while also giving students real-life practice of how libraries work.

Provide Lots of Comfortable Seating

If your classroom library has enough space, consider adding some plush, comfortable seating for students to use for reading only. Create a cozy reading nook with bean bag chairs, stuffed animals, and string lighting to give students somewhere to read without being in the middle of classroom activities.

Offer Reading Rewards

A final idea for your classroom library is to include an area for reading rewards and prizes. This can be just a few small bins with fun prizes or school supplies that students can pick from when they finish a book or a reading challenge. This immediate reward for their efforts will motivate them to read more. Reading rewards don’t have to break the bank…students are usually happy with simple things like pens, pencils, erasers, highlighters, fidget toys, balls, etc.

Make Your Classroom Library Fun with GEDDES

Stock your classroom library’s reading rewards section with fun and affordable toys, school supplies, and other prizes from GEDDES. We’ve been supplying schools with what they need for student success since 1924, and we have no plan to slow down! Check out our digital catalogs or browse our online store to see our full selection of items. For more information on our products or resources for school stores, book fairs, and fundraisers, call 888-431-1722, email, or send us a message online.