• What’s the “Book Room”?             

    Oconee County Elementary School’s Book Room is a former walk-in storage closet across from our school library that staff, Title I, parent volunteers and PTO funds have transformed into an exceptional resource for our teachers and students. It houses a “leveled library” of children’s books and book sets teachers use for one-on-one reading instruction, small group work and as take-home books for reading with a parent.


    What’s a “leveled library”?


    A “leveled library” is a collection of books that have been analyzed and assigned a level according to their degree of difficulty. Numerous factors determine a book’s level, including the number and complexity of words and sentences on a page, the familiarity of vocabulary and content, and the degree to which illustrations and graphical elements support understanding. As levels increase, books’ text characteristics place growing demands on the developing reader.


    Why is a “leveled library” important?


    Having a library of leveled books allows teachers to differentiate reading instruction by matching readers to a wide variety of “just right” books -- books at each child’s individual instructional level that pose enough challenge to nurture the child’s growing repertoire of problem-solving strategies, without causing frustration (because it’s either too hard or too easy to make progress). Variety is essential because different text types, formats and genres make different demands on readers, so exposure to a variety of books helps readers build a flexible reading process. With multiple copies of the same book (a book “set,” usually 4-6 copies), teachers can work effectively with a small group of readers at the same level.


    How does the Book Room benefit OCES students and teachers?


    The Book Room brings together many small leveled libraries into one large inventory shared by all OCES teachers. An online inventory tracks titles, numbers of copies, and a growing number of other features, such as instructional focus, topic, theme, and genre. A checkout system facilitates sharing, reduces book loss, and greatly increases students’ opportunities for variety and number of “just right” texts. Having a central inventory allows teachers and PTA to share responsibility for the time-consuming and expensive effort of maintaining and adding to teachers’ collections of leveled books. All students benefit regardless of how big or small their teacher’s collection is. The book room gives teachers an opportunity to physically see a bigger picture of what’s happening throughout the grade levels, it’s OCES’s professional conversations about reading instruction and assessment, and it deepens our school-wide vision of reading development. Having and using a wide variety of leveled readers is a best practice that aligns with Common Core standards calling for reading across a wide range of increasingly complex texts.


    Does this mean my child’s classroom no longer has a library?


    No, teachers’ classroom libraries remain the same. Book Room books are additional instructional books that teachers previously stored in a separate area.


    Can my child and I visit and check out books from the Book Room?


    No, the Book Room is a resource for teachers. However, your child will have access to many leveled books your teacher checks out from the Book Room. Many teachers also send home Book Room books for nightly reading with a parent.


    How do I find out the level at which my child is reading? Is the level indicated somewhere on books that come home?


    Students are assessed by the teacher to determine their reading level and strategies they use to monitor their reading and manage their comprehension. Readers may bring home texts that are within a range of levels that are "just right" depending on a number of factors, such as content, the reader’s prior knowledge and the teacher's instructional focus. Contacting your child’s teacher is the best way to find out at what level your child is reading. Book Room books’ front covers have a sticker on the outside and a level marked on the inside.


    I’d like to get my child more books at her/his level. How can I determine a book’s level when I’m at the library or bookstore or looking at a reading list?


    The Book Room is categorized by Lexile reading levels. You can learn more about Lexiles at https://lexile.com/.


    Who should I contact to learn more about or volunteer in the Book Room?


    Please contact anyone on the Book Room Committee or the Media Specialist. Volunteers are periodically needed to move books, sort and label books, bins and checkout cards or handle returns. The Book Room also needs helpers for its used book drive and sale.