My Classroom Bookshelf

My classroom bookshelf is the most important and popular place to be.  I think so, and children certainly feel that way.  They congregate like squirrels at a bird feeder.  Yes, there are fights over books, loud times, and also quiet times.  Sometimes children read alone, and sometimes they read together.

Sometimes they read to Gloria.

Look carefully at the bookshelf.  Every book is front-facing.  That’s important, as it draws in the children.  Bookstores do the same thing.  Children can access these books any time they want to.  There is always a wide variety of books displayed; old and new; fact and fiction, math, geography, poetry, humor, art, patriotic, familiar authors, and classics.

What books do you recognize or remember?

  • Katy and the Big Snow is more than a classic.  It is geography.  And, it was the book that Jim Trelease remembered the most as a child.
  • No, David is hilarious.
  • Madeline and Blueberries For Sal are as popular today as they ever were.
  • Anno’s Counting Book is the best math book I have read in 30 years.
  • The Three Little Javelinas is the book we used for our play performance.
  • Are You My Mother? and Dr. Seuss books are terrific.
  • This Land is Your Land stays on the bookshelf because children love to sing the song and look at the book.

Mind you, there are many more wonders on that bookshelf.  I hope you noticed.  And the good news– the books constantly rotate and change.

“I know that book!” and “I remember that book!” are words I hear from parents, and also visitors.  Children are eager to show them their favorites, and parents are eager to read aloud those books.  Win-win.  Because, if we don’t read aloud to our children, we will never grow readers.

Books are a treasure chest of gold and jewels.  Open a book, and  the words and pictures open doors to the world.  It’s magic.

This week is Children’s Book Week.

Read books aloud with children.  Volunteer to read at your local library or school.  You never know what adventures will happen.  I also read aloud at the library every week, and there’s always “something”, a discovery or terrific conversation.  That’s the power and importance of reading.


About Jennie

I have been teaching preschool for over thirty-five years. This is my passion. I believe that children have a voice, and that is the catalyst to enhance or even change the learning experience. Emergent curriculum opens young minds. It's the little things that happen in the classroom that are most important and exciting. That's what I write about. I was a live guest on the Kelly Clarkson Show. I am highlighted in the seventh edition of Jim Trelease's million-copy bestselling book, "The Read-Aloud Handbook" because of my reading to children. My class has designed quilts that hang as permanent displays at the National Liberty Museum in Philadelphia, the Fisher House at the Boston VA Hospital, and the Massachusetts State House in Boston.
This entry was posted in books, children's books, Early Education, Expressing words and feelings, Imagination, Inspiration, Jim Trelease, picture books, reading, reading aloud, reading aloud, self esteem, Teaching young children and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

73 Responses to My Classroom Bookshelf

  1. Opher says:

    I think it is wonderful that you have Woody Guthrie on your shelf!

  2. beetleypete says:

    I have just bought ‘Katy and The Big Snow’, based solely on your love of it. It is delightful indeed, and we will be giving it to our grandson soon.
    You class bookcase is a treasure trove indeed, Jennie.
    Best wishes, Pete.

  3. Bookshelves are treasure troves to behold.. And to me they hold magic within their pages. Its wonderful to see you creating so many magical moments for children to delve into.
    Have a wonderful week Jennie. ❤ Much Love

  4. willedare says:

    I love your image of children “congregat(ing) like squirrels at a bird feeder” in order to get a book to read. Yesterday I was at a packed Catholic church in Medfield to witness the first holy communion of a friend’s child. The church was so full that I stood in one of the doorways — which allowed me to see what was happening in their lobby area, too. My favorite part of this church experience was watching a small girl pick out a book (from a shelf in the lobby which I assume was there for exactly this purpose) and sit in her mother’s lap on a chair in the lobby so that they could read together quietly while the service continued nearby. The mom was very pregnant with another baby and (I am guessing) was feeling a bit tired, but she was very happy to cuddle with her daughter and read a book together. I thought of you, Jennie, and your classroom and your blog…

    • Jennie says:

      What a lovely story, Will! It must have made you feel very good. I’m so glad it reminded you of me and my blog. Thank you. I love the squirrel image, too! 🙂

  5. Darlene says:

    Nothing like a well-stocked bookshelf! I had one in my small bedroom growing up. When asked what I would do if there was ever a fire in my house, I would say, grab my books and throw them out the window, then jump out myself. (I was on a ground floor)

  6. Dan Antion says:

    If I were there, I’d be reading about Pancakes 🙂

  7. That looks like a great place to congregate. It must be a blast when the kids discover new books in there. 🙂

  8. Hi Jennie. I loved getting a look at your bookshelves, and seeing the kids reading. Have a beautiful new week. Hugs.

  9. I love front facing books on bookshelves. It’s like art on the wall.

  10. What delightful pictures. Children with books. A time of innocence, and discovery.

  11. Ellen says:

    I started reading to my 4 yr. old grandson, Benjamin, when he was an infant and it remains a favorite part of every day. Many of my daughter’s friends are amazed by this and tell her that their children will not sit through any book. She smiles and says : “My Mom would tell you that it wasn’t started soon enough.” I am a firm believer in Beverly Cleary’s thinking that children should learn that reading is a pleasure. Thank-you!

    • Jennie says:

      Yes, YES! You are exactly right, Ellen. Do you know “The Read Aloud Handbook” by Jim Trelease? That book got me started 30 years ago. Still a bestseller. I “preach” this to parents (of course). Thank you so much for your wonderful comments.

  12. Super shelf, Jennie.

  13. Reblogged this on Smorgasbord – Variety is the spice of life and commented:
    I will sign off tonight with a post from Jennie Fitzkee who is sharing her bookshelf in her preschool Classroom.. a watering hole of the highest order… A fantastic collection and Jennie also reminds us that it is Children’s Book Week… and that we must engage with children as much as possible and ensure that they are immersed in the wonderful world of books. It is also Get Caught Reading Month… make sure you are!

  14. susanwileyauthorillustratoryoungchildren says:

    I’m a retired preschool teacher and I love your blog and bookshelf! Brings back memories!! I too loved reading picture books and immersing the children in book themed activities and art work. I can’t wait to visit the Eric Carle Museum in Amherst!!! I did not know of it! I was sooo inspired by reading sooo many picture books that my first children’s book was just published by WestBow Press. It’s called Shake, Waggle, and ROLL! It’s about my beloved pet dog and his busy day. Done in short rhyme with picture cues for the action words. (Things I learned by reading several hundred books in the classroom!) I would love for you to have a copy! Your post on Jane Yolen is certainly an inspiration. I saw her years ago, before the Dinosaur series came out. She has so many wonderful books. Thanks again for taking the time for such a great blog.

    • Jennie says:

      Thank you, Susan! It was a pleasure to read your comments. I’m so glad you hope to visit the Eric Carle Museum. It is a treasure trove of books and the art of illustrators. Congratulations on publishing your first children’s book! Dog books and rhyming books are wonderful. I would love to have a copy. Thank you! Send to P.O. Box 739, Groton, MA 01450. Much appreciated. Yes, Jane Yolen was inspirational. I’m so glad we talked one-on-one. She has a few books I need to read, like “Eeny Meeny Miney Mole.” Many thanks!

    • susanwileyauthorillustratoryoungchildren says:

      The book will be in the mail this week! And I will include the ‘wagging tail’ puppy dog craft for you to do with the children too. Enjoy!

  15. PaulAndruss says:

    Jennie Kids fighting over books. It warms the cockles of my heart!

  16. Oh, the wonder of Books + Children! ❤ xo

  17. Tina Frisco says:

    I love your classroom bookshelf, Jennie. When my friends had their bookstore, the books in the children’s section always faced out. Kids were drawn to them, wide-eyed and eager. On your shelf, the first book that caught my eye was Olivia. It was a best-seller for years. Such a cutie. So thoughtful of you to honor Children’s book week. It should be a whole month! ❤️

    • Jennie says:

      Thank you, Tina! You know how important facing out is. When classrooms have books piled in a basket it makes me sad. Yes, Olivia! And Children’s Book Week should definitely be a month. 😍

  18. I love how they read to Gloria and make her feel part of the class. Too cute. 🙂

  19. You have a fantastic selection of books, Jennie! Love the adorable photos, too. 🙂

  20. A lovely post as always, Jennie. I am part of a group that is trying to bring more books to underprivileged children in South Africa. A great project.

    • Jennie says:

      Thank you, Robbie. I’m so glad to hear about your wonderful project. I do something similar with my home state. They also have volunteer readers that go to schools. Books + Children = a good thing!

  21. mitchteemley says:

    It was a teacher much like you, Jennie, who first introduced me to the magic of books!

  22. dgkaye says:

    What a wonderful thing to read to others to educate and entertain. Children’s Book Week is an excellent cause. You will be remembered for your big heart Jennie for years to come. 🙂 x

  23. Ritu says:

    I love your bookshelf!
    Do you rotate the books so there are fresh books every few weeks? We have ours on a 6 week rotation… introduces them to lots of books over the year with lots if time to explore 😘

  24. ren says:

    I am blessed to live with an ‘almost’ 3 year old and a ‘new’ 1 year old.
    Their momma is always reading to them.
    The older child and I will explore the books, examine the pictures, find letters, colors, shapes, etc we know, discuss what is going on, etc. What fun and imaginative it becomes.
    Rarely do I ‘read’ the books, (by choice)
    Tea parties, leggo and ‘koala’ boat rides are what we have fun doing….

    Thank you Jennie for bringing awareness to the importance of books. Hugz

  25. Pingback: My Classroom Bookshelf | A Teacher’s Reflections by Jennie Fitzkee – Children Are Our Future Now!

  26. frenchc1955 says:

    Reblogged this on charles french words reading and writing and commented:
    This is a wonderful post from Jennie!

  27. pjlazos says:

    I miss the days when my kids read these books. 📚

  28. sjhigbee says:

    The reading corner is such a vital part of a classroom – I’m not surprised that you have made it such a cosy, welcoming place:). As ever, an inspirational post, Jenny:)

  29. Norah says:

    Your bookshelf is perfect, Jennie. I always had to have a shelf with books facing out too!

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