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This week – and most likely next – has been spent in the tedious exercise of listing any book in the classroom that will remain in the students’ library. Coming from a lower grade level, I am amazed at the quantity of books that I have for Reading Levels A-J…. too many in fact. So the issue will become, which to save, and which to “recycle”?

I feel as if, given the circumstance that I most likely will continue to be one of the special education inclusion classrooms, I should hold on to an amount of books at the lower reading levels so that struggling readers can still find a “just right” book. However, the coding system I’ve adopted goes no lower than “J”. There will definitely be a weeding out of many of those books; some I will put up for adoption by the lower elementary teachers who may find them useful, some – the more worn copies – I will donate either to the Lincoln Lenders (a trading library at our school) or give directly to children who do not have books at home. The books I keep will be stored separately unless I need to use them. A set of baskets simply marked “fiction” and “nonfiction” with a purple sticker will mark them.

Using the databases that were mentioned in a previous post and one new one — from a teacher at McCarthy Towne School in Acton, MA — have been helpful in leveling most of the books.  Some books, while not leveled according to Fountas Pinnell, have either an approximate reading level or lexile associated with them.  For those books, I am using a conversion chart.  Here is one from Southern Utah University that is quite extensive (be sure to back up one level to see the other reading resources they’ve collected) and a PDF document from Tassajara Hills Elementary in Danville, California.

Still, after exhausting all of these resources, about 10 percent of the books will need leveling. I know that current thinking encourages teachers to leave  “some” books unleveled.  It’s that unquantified “some” that is bothersome — how much is that? If you are reading this blog, and you have a suggestion, I would welcome it! I am considering taking the easy way out though — if I can’t find the book in either a leveled database or through correlation with lexiles, it just may end up in a browsing basket of unleveled books.

For now, however, I’ll keep working on the seemingly endless task of inventorying, leveling, and adding the books to my Excel database.

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