Useful Documents for Davidson County Educators:

Classroom Libraries PowerPoint

Davidson County Schools Classroom Libraries Guidelines

Helping Students Choose Books

North Carolina Guided Reading Levels Conversion Chart

Classroom Library Guidelines:

Library Contents:

·   Libraries should include a large number of books

·   50/50 balance of fiction and non-fiction

·   Variety of reading levels to meet the needs of every student

·   Magazines, poetry books, newspapers, picture books, student created books, novels, and enlarged texts (for primary students) should all be included

·   Variety of genres and topics in both fiction and nonfiction

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·   Books should be neatly organized by genres, series, and/or topics with covers facing out. Examples: Biographies, Folk Tales, Sports, Reptiles, etc.  Consider inviting your students to sort and organize your book collection with you in order to promote awareness, excitement, and knowledge of authors and genres.

·   Teachers may label the back of books with their Fountas and Pinnell reading level, as a "teacher's tool" for informal assessments and other instructional purposes.

·   Books should be easily accessible to all students.

·   Students select their own "personal collection" of books that are stored in individual bags, baskets, or boxes.

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Instructional Tips for Helping Children Choose "Just Right" Books:

·   Explicit lessons during Reading Workshop modeling how to choose books and discuss why we abandon books.  

·   Variety is critical if students are to develop the capacity to navigate a wide range of texts. Children need to read in a variety of genres, as well as on a variety of topics.

·   Teach students how to use the five-finger rule as one way to select "just right" texts, in addition to consideration of background knowledge and comprehension.

·   Confer with students individually or within a small group about choosing "just right" books.

·   Encourage students when "book shopping" at the classroom library to select two "easy" books to build fluency, two or more "just right" books on a wide array of topics and genres that have enough depth to develop comprehension strategies.

·   Students should be allowed to select books from any basket keeping in mind the tips and strategies they have been taught for selecting "just right" books.


Sources : Linda Hoyt, Literacy Specialists (2006)

  Mosaic of Thought, Ellin Keene and Susan Zimmerman (2007)


Student Tips for Selecting Books



  • You can read the words fluentlySchoolCenter Picture
  • You know how to say all the words
  • You have a lot of schema for the subject
  • Your thinking comes easy as you read the words
  • Your reading rate may be quicker


  • Many of the words are too hard to decode (failed the five finger test)
  • You don't know what the tricky words mean
  • You lose focus as you are reading
  • You are not enjoying the book because you have to do too much word work
  • You are confused, the book doesn't make sense

Just Right

  • You can read most of the words
  • You can understand what you are reading
  • Your reading rate is just right
  • You can figure out the tricky words and still get the MEANING of the story
  • You may have some schema for the subject