I've been playing around with the idea of creating an Easy Chapter Book section and a Middle Grade section for awhile. I thought creating these sections might help solve three problems:
1) Students who are in older grades who need shorter chapter books to read will know exactly what section to go to in order to find these types of books.
2) Younger students who REALLY want to read chapter books can find chapter books that are appropriate for their age level.
3) Younger students won't be drawn to books that are really not age appropriate for them, even though they may have a high reading level.
I started off by creating just the Easy chapter book section to see how it would go. It was a big hit. Even the older students were going to that section to find chapter books. At first I had only a couple of shelves, but by the end of the year, I had a whole aisle, 4 shelves of books for the Easy Chapter Book section. To make it easy to find books, I even labeled books in a series.
Many of the upper grade teachers require their students to only read chapter books, but slower readers tend to shy away from them, so the shorter chapter books are a perfect fit for them. Books in this section range from second grade level up to fifth grade level with most being around 50-60 pages and none going over 150 pages. The longer books have larger print, so really aren't as long as they seem.
I was afraid that the "Easy" label might negate solution #1, so I will be calling the Easy section the Everybody section next year, which means EC will stand for Everybody Chapter books.
I am really excited about the change, but it does mean that I had to relabel some books from FIC to EC and from FIC to MG.
It took a while, but I think in the long run, it will be worth it. I labeled all the "new" MG books with a neon green spine label to make them easy to spot and easy to shelf.
Now the MG books can even be easily found in the Wildcat Favorites section. This should help solve any problems volunteers might have with checking out appropriate level books for younger grades. (You can read more about the Wildcat Favorites section here.)
I will still be keeping the fiction section to house fiction books that are longer, but would be appropriate for any age student to read, if it fits their reading ability and interest. The MG label will apply to chapter books that have an interest level of 5th grade and up, although the reading level of the book might be lower.
We'll see how it goes, but I am very hopeful and very excited about this change and I think the kids will be, too.
Do you have any special sections in your Media Center?