How to Make a Virtual Classroom Library


Classroom libraries are the heart and soul of literacy instruction.  We know that the right book at the right time can make all the difference … but only if we can find it!  Most of my conversations with teachers and literacy coaches these past weeks have centered on books.  Do you have a copy of …  I forgot to grab my books…  How will we reach our students and match them to texts?  As we plan online learning modules and lessons, we realize we are missing the most important component of our instruction – BOOKS.

And it’s not just the books, it is the classroom library itself that is missing.  This space where readers connect with one another and we connect them to books.  This space where we design, organize and reorganize baskets of books to reflect our students and our curriculum.  This space where students have agency to discover their reading identity and author their reading life. 

I miss this space. I miss being in classroom libraries with teachers, literacy coaches, librarians and students.  It got me thinking.  How could I virtually create this space?  What structure could I create for teachers to replicate for their students? How could we once again work together to empower students and make the book supply seem endless in the eyes of a reader? I felt a bit like the main character in Most Magnificent Thing – I fiddled and played and revised. I tested and redesigned and retested.   

This one is created as a google document, but I also created one in Padlet that worked well.  Each basket is hyperlinked to a digital bin that is also a google doc.  I have curated a collection of texts in each bin from various websites, publishers, and authors reading their books aloud.  We surveyed students to find out what types of books they were interested in reading and created baskets to support upcoming units of study. Baskets contain digital books, PDFs of books, audiobooks, videos of books, images, and short video clips.  Here is a video explaining how I created it.


Here is a blank template of the google doc used for the virtual classroom library.

This article and video are cross-posted and can also be found on Clare Landigran's website. Clare Landigran is an author, speaker, and staff developer who works to implement best practices in the field of literacy and to engage in institutional change through shared leadership.

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