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Sorting Books

by Early Math Counts

Both of my boys have left for college and I am in a state of shock.  Looking for ways to fill my heretofore parenting time, I decided to clean and tidy my house.  I bought the book the life-changing magic of tidying up, by Marie Kondo as I thought this would be the motivation needed to get going on this monstrous project.

It got me thinking about this time of year; going back to school, the beginning of fall, change in the air, kids growing up, and opportunities to do things a new way. Now is the time to make small changes in your classroom that can impact the children in meaningful ways.

My very good friend Alison has an artist’s eye and a great sense of style.  When I last visited her out in California, I fell in love with the way she organized her children’s books.  Rather than sorting them by author or title as most of us usually do, she organizes them by color.



You can see how the books create this rainbow effect on the shelves but more than that, this visual style of sorting is a wonderful way for young children – pre readers- to participate in the upkeep of the classroom library.

Most children are highly visual and remember books by their covers, colors, and pictures.  Most know their colors before they read, and are able to choose favorite books by their look rather than by title or author.  Imagine putting away books at clean up time, and rather than having the books stuffed haphazardly on the shelves, children are able to sort them on their own into their color family.  You can see that it is not an exact science.  The oranges flow into the reds and yellows, but it is not perfect and does not need to be.  In addition, this is a sorting system that supports young children’s early math development by asking them to consider where the books go based on a visual attribute and then sorting them just so.  I love this idea.

2 Replies to “Sorting Books”

    1. That would look really interesting but young children have trouble thinking about two aspects of a problem simultaneously. So putting books in between 2 sizes requires them to think about books that are bigger while also thinking about books that are smaller. It may be too challenging for children under 5 but it is a definite idea for kindergartners who are beginning to have those skills. Thanks for the idea.

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