Gradual Release of the Classroom Library

From Organization to Instruction in Grades K-3

Course Dates:

August 20 - September 1 (self-paced)

Is there any work more joyful than sorting through books and imagining the pleasure they will bring to your students?

Yet creating a beautiful library design is just the beginning. The most lovely classroom library in the world is only the starting point for getting books in the hands of students. Some children will eagerly browse books in the classroom library from day one. Others struggle to find books they will enjoy, or rapidly take and discard books without even skimming through them.

How can you ensure all students thrive when it comes to browsing and selecting books in the library? Library design matters. But just as crucial is teaching students how to use the library in the early days and weeks of school, through carefully designed minilessons, book browsing activities, and individual conferences that help students learn how to sort and select appropriate books on their own.

This self-paced course will help teachers and literacy coaches with some of the most challenging questions they face when it comes to the classroom library. You’ll learn how to:

  • design a classroom library that is inviting,
  • “gradually release” books and bins to build interest and scaffold learning,
  • enlist students in organizing and maintaining the library,
  • highlight nonfiction texts in creative ways,
  • weed books before the school year begins, and
  • add and delete books and bins throughout the year as you tailor the library to student needs.

Bonus segments highlight ways to:

  • organize libraries for kindergartners,
  • design libraries that support struggling readers, and
  • build a classroom library with a limited budget.

The course includes many videos and print features on best practices in classroom library design, minilessons for early in the year, conferences with students about books and the library, and much more.

Your instructor Bitsy Parks will take you into her primary classroom in Beaverton, Oregon for a close-up look at how she organizes and then gradually releases the library to students over days, weeks, and months. She’ll provide lesson tips, strategies, and templates to help you plan and makes choices about when to introduce bins and browsing skills. You’ll end the course with the information and resources you need to integrate instruction on how to use the library into your daily minilesson and conferring routines.

You’ll be learning from some of the most respected teacher authors in literacy education today through the print and video components of the class. These authors include Stephanie Affinito, Ann Marie Corgill, Shari Frost, Clare Landrigan and Tammy Mulligan, Debbie Miller, Mandy Robek, Franki Sibberson, Andrea Smith, and many others.

A thoughtful library plan and gradual release to students fosters independence all year long. Join us and learn how to have your most successful library launch ever.

Your Instructor

Bitsy Parks
Bitsy Parks

I am a first-grade teacher in Beaverton, Oregon. I am also an adjunct instructor for reading assessment and comprehension classes at Lewis & Clark College in Portland, Oregon. I have taught grades 1-6 (except for grade 4!) in my 22 years in the classroom. I write articles for Choice Literacy about my classroom when I’m not chasing after my four children and Black Lab Duke with my husband Charlie.

My fun fact? I I once rowed in a two-person boat down the inside passage that runs between Skagway, Alaska and Seattle, Washington. I only rowed the Skagway to Juneau portion of the trip, but my soon-to-be husband rowed the entire passage.

Course Curriculum

  Involving Students: Organizing and Gradual Release Through Minilessons, Groups, and Conferrin
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days after you enroll
  Refining, Weeding, and Reassessing Throughout the Year
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days after you enroll

Frequently Asked Questions

When does the course start and finish?
The course is available beginning on August 20. The instructor will respond to participants through September 1, and you will have access to all materials through October 30.
How long do I have access to the course?
Course access begins on August 20, and you will be able to ask the instructor questions for the first 12 days. We strongly encourage you to log in and begin the course in this time frame -- this is when the comment boards will be most active. But we know life happens, and you may need more time to go through the many screencasts, articles, and videos provided. That's why you'll have full access to the course through October 30, and member access to the Choice Literacy and Lead Literacy websites through November.
How long does it take to complete the course?
We estimate it takes approximately 15 hours to complete all the screencasts, videos, and articles available in this course.
Can I sign up for graduate credit?
We do not offer graduate credit for this course. But we do provide a certificate of completion for the course listing 15 contact hours. Many participants in the past have used their certificate for recertification, but you will need to check the specific requirements within your district or state to see if participation qualifies you for recertification credit.
What if I am unhappy with the course?
We would never want you to be unhappy! If you are unsatisfied with your purchase, contact us in the first 30 days and we will give you a full refund.

Please Note: If you have a paid Choice Literacy or Lead Literacy subscription, you are eligible for a $40 discount off the $179 course price. Just sign up at this link from within your member account to receive your discount.

If you wish to pay for this course offline with a check or purchase order, click here to download the order form.

This course is closed for enrollment.