Why Genrefication Could Be an Option for You!
by Nicole Stroup
Genrefication is here to stay. If you think about it, classroom teachers have been genrefying their classroom libraries for decades. I can remember when I was a first year teacher, I had this great collection from my youth, but I had no idea where to begin in managing the collection, or building the collection, until I started reading blogs and developing my own classroom library system. This system was classifying my books into different topics and genres. Classroom teachers take this even farther by leveling their collection within each genre and having students manage the classroom library.
When I left the classroom for a Reading Specialist position and later an Instructional Coach position, I teamed up with my school’s Library Media Assistant, and together we worked with Follett to genrefy the library collection. We did the entire library in eight days, fiction and nonfiction. Yes, we had lots of hands on deck at the time, and, yes, we shut down the library for eight days, but reopened with the most inspiring smiling faces of the students and the staff.
After we genrefied the library collection, many classroom teachers started to genrefy their collections as well and even used the same coding and stickers that the library had purchased. In the first full year of genrefication, we saw an incredible increase in circulation, as well as test scores in English Language Arts. Students were able to access books quickly that they weren’t able to find before, and also dive into genres they had not considered before. We’ve all been asked, “where’s …” Now we can point and say, “It’s over there!” and have their little happy feet find the book in whatever genre section it’s in, freeing up our time to help others!
So, the work is worth it! Since genrefying one library, I’ve worked with many classroom teachers and six schools since to genrefy their libraries. Each Library Media Assistant has done it a bit differently and made different decisions about where they want each book to go, and in each library it has worked out beautifully for the students and staff. Each library has their own interests - what better way to invite students into reading than to make a library organized for them in a way that makes finding the books they want quick and easy. Students are excited to come to the library and pick up a book they want to read because they can find it now!
Nicole Stroup has been in education for ten years both at Round Lake Area Schools and Big Hollow Elementary. She holds a masters in Reading Instruction and is currently finishing her second masters in Educational Leadership. She taught second grade for five years before taking a job as a Reading Specialist working with grades K-5. The previous three years she has been an instructional coach and ELA Content Facilitator working with many classroom teachers across the district providing support and professional development for staff. Through the coaching roles she has also worked with various school library media assistants in helping them genrefy their collections and support best practices with collection development. She is celebrating her first year as a mom and enjoys volunteering her time coaching for Carmel Catholic High School girl's gymnastic program.