Hameray Classroom Literacy Blog

Spotlight! Taking a Look at Classroom Libraries with Lyssa Sahadevan

Welcome once again to our Teacher Spotlight, giving recognition (and free books!) to deserving teachers who have great ideas to share. Today's featured teacher is Lyssa Sahadevan of Marietta, GA. She writes a blog called My Mommy Reads in which she writes about motherhood and teaching-related topics, such as classroom management. Sometimes, she even has giveaways! Lyssa is here to share some ideas about different ways classroom libraries can be organized.

If you're interested in classroom libraries, we offer six sets that are divided by reading level. You can find out more about them by clicking here!

Classroom Libraries

No matter how many books you have or what grade level you teach, organizing your books should be a priority! It saves you instructional time and makes life easier for you AND your students!

So what is the best way to organize books? Levels? Genres? Author? Fiction/Informational? My answer is a good mix of everything. But I think the correct answer is whatever works for you and your students!

You might choose to sort your books at the beginning of the year with your students or you may sort them ahead of time. I do a little of both, and then everyone helps sort the books into their correct baskets. When we receive books throughout the year, we let partners decide where the book should be placed. Involving students (readers) in the classroom library decision-making empowers them and builds their sense of ownership.

However you decide to sort, and I know it is a big decision, start today. If you want to level your books, ask for parent volunteers or work with a colleague. Building a classroom library that works will take time, but is absolutely worth it!

Here are a few examples of up and running classroom libraries in grades K–2:

1st grade: Leveled books are available for students for at home reading.

1st grade: Books are sorted by theme. This tub features fiction and informational books about weather.

1st grade: Tubs sorted by topic. Informational baskets come in handy during research!

1st grade: Books are sorted by author and/or character. Character studies and author studies are a snap when your tubs are ready! 

1st grade: Leveled readers for guided reading.

1st grade: Seasonal tubs for read alouds!

2nd grade: Chapter books are sorted by series. 

2nd grade: Informational tubs with abbreviations that are also written inside each book for easy return. 

2nd grade: Books sorted by topic (animals/fiction and tv shows/comics) may also be leveled by topic within their basket.


Kindergarten: Leveled readers for small-group instruction.

Kindergarten: Books sorted by genre, placed at student level for easy access.

- Lyssa Sahadevan


Lyssa Sahadevan is a first grade teacher in Marietta, GA. She loves reader's and writer's workshop, is a former Teacher of the Year, and shares ideas at www.mymommyreads.com.


Do you know a K-8 teacher whose creative classroom activities could use some well-deserved recognition? Have you, yourself, hit upon a strategy that you think works so well that you'd love to share it with others? Do you have a teaching blog or website with ideas you'd like to spread? Come stand in our teacher spotlight!

We're looking for teachers with unique, fun perspectives to feature on our blog. At least once a month, possibly more often, we want to inspire the teaching community with the innovative work of teachers who have a true passion for what they're doing. We'll broadcast your ideas here on our blog, distributing them through social media such as Facebook and Twitter.

Each teacher we choose will get some Hameray "goodies" from a series that fits their classroom needs—early literacy, oral language development, striving readers in upper grades, informational text, or narrative texts.

To nominate yourself or another teacher, tell us a little more here.

- Tara Rodriquez