Organizing Classroom Space for Reading & Writing

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  • 0:05 An Organized Classroom
  • 0:38 Classroom Library
  • 1:21 Meeting Areas
  • 3:04 Classroom Walls
  • 4:20 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Rita Kerrigan

Rita has taught elementary and middle school and has a master's degree in reading education.

It is very important for teachers to put thought into the physical organization of their classrooms. Learn about specific literacy areas and how to create an environment where readers and writers are motivated, comfortable, and successful.

An Organized Classroom

The physical space of a classroom is very important for creating a successful reading and writing environment. A strategically laid out classroom maximizes the space available and creates an inviting place that lends itself well to learning. This involves the layout of the furniture in the classroom, the organization and placement of materials, and the information displayed on the walls. All of these features provide valuable spaces for learning, as well as an organized and welcoming environment where students are eager to learn and grow as readers and writers.

Classroom Library

The classroom library is an extremely vital part of the classroom space. A corner or section of the room should be dedicated to the classroom library, and it should contain shelves and bins for books that are grouped by genre, level, author, or topic. It is important to give these bins and shelves labels so students can easily find and pick out a book.

The library may also include a cozy reading nook or an area where students can sit and relax with a book. Ideas for this area include pillows, beanbag chairs, a rug, and even a homey lamp to offset the industrial florescent lights in most classrooms. Making the classroom library an inviting space will encourage students to want to visit it and read.

Meeting Areas

Established areas in the classroom for literacy centers are also very important. Literacy centers are stations that the teacher sets up where small groups of students work on various reading and writing activities. These areas are often the regular tables that the students sit at during the day but during literacy centers, materials can be brought to each table to easily transform them into literacy stations. Bins are very useful in these circumstances because they are able to contain all of the necessary materials and can be transported around the room as needed.

The teacher should also have a table available that is dedicated to guiding reading sessions or reading and writing conferences with individual students. Again, this can be one of the regular tables that are used for student seating during the remainder of the day or it can be a separate table that is only used for small group literacy instruction.

The teacher should strategically place materials that will be needed during guided reading and student conferences at this table so that he or she does not have to leave the area to gather these materials and disrupt valuable reading and writing time.

A large rug should be present somewhere in the room for whole class gathering. This is especially important in the primary grades but may also be used in the intermediate grades. The rug is a great place to gather during shared reading sessions, in which the teacher reads a story to the class and teaches a lesson at the same time. It's also a great place for the class to hear and read aloud so the students can all be close enough to see the pictures and print in the story.

In addition to the rug, this area should contain something for the teacher to write on that the student's can see, such as a large easel, as well as materials for lessons, such as markers and pointers.

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