Welcome to Week 2 of the Speech Room Organization Challenge! I’m sharing ideas and strategies to help you tackle a few organizational projects over the summer. This week is all about getting those BOOKS organized!
If you don’t know already, I kind of love books. I also happen to have quite a few of them. (Check out this post for some of my favorites.)
I use books on a regular basis in therapy, so I really needed a streamlined system to keep track of them all. Today, I’m going to chat about how I keep my books organized, but stay tuned for more posts on how to make the most of books in therapy!
1. Pick a System
I’ve tried a few different systems over the years. 🙂 I currently use my file boxes (and love them!), but I wanted to share some other ideas. We all have different spaces/needs/resources, and one of the other options might be a better fit for you.
These are my absolute favorite! I found these boxes at Office Depot, but you can easily find them at any office supply store (or Target/Walmart). I use decided to organize my books by seasonal themes, so I created a file folder for each theme. I then stuck the books behind the appropriate folder. The file folders are great organizers/dividers. I also use them to store a few activities (e.g., craft templates, visuals). I wrote about my themed book organization in more detail here.
Bonus: These file boxes are great for traveling SLPs, too. I’m currently doing some traveling and was able to fit three boxes side-by-side in my trunk! (Although they’re not all filled with books. I use the boxes to store other therapy materials, too.) I just rotate out the boxes of books by season. For example, I’m currently only carrying the “Year Round” and “Summer” boxes in my car. Fall, Winter, and Summer books are in my garage. 🙂
Extra Bonus: You can also use file boxes/cabinets to organize some of those tricky materials. My interactive books from Speech Room News were always a mess, but this worked perfectly!
These are a cute way to display and organize books. I found these bins at the dollar store and customized them with some labels.
I also tried using these boxes from Walmart for a while. (They were a little cheaper when I bought them.)
I suppose you could also put books on a bookshelf. That’s something that people do? I never had enough shelf space to really make that work, but it’s a perfectly fine way to store your books. ;D
2. Organize Away
Once you pick a system that works for you, organize the books in the way that you use them. Do you need to organize by theme, author, genre, or age? When I was first figuring out my system, I literally laid out all of my books on the floor. I started grouping them and was able to put some in a “donation” pile. After all, what SLP needs 43,290,483 Christmas books? Seeing that giant stack made me feel a lot better about getting rid of the books I would never use.
3. Take an Inventory
Does anyone else have five copies of the same book? … Yeah, that definitely never, ever happens to me. (:
I wrote a blog post about my favorite app to inventory books.
Sarah from SLP Toolkit also shared how to use Evernote to take a quick inventory of your books. Pretty awesome!
You can use these apps to quickly search for a book (on the go!) when you’re planning for a session or when you’re shopping and can’t remember if you have a certain book. You can also tag the location of the book (e.g., the “Holiday” bin).
4. Put It Away Right Away
All systems inevitably get a little disorganized. However, make a promise to yourself to put your books away after you’re done using them! You don’t want to end up redoing all of your awesome organization work in just a few months…!
If you’re looking for more ideas, check out the other posts in this series:
– Paper Materials
– Digital Materials
Deborah Bennett says
I LOVE using trade books in therapy. I get excited about them and my students love them. My biggest problem with organizing books is that almost every book has different uses. I have always wanted a way to catalog or store books so that I can find all the best ones for /s/ clusters, for irregular past tense verbs, for WH-questions, for subject pronouns, for compound sentences, for inferencing, for identifying facial expression, etc. etc. whatever I need … on the fly! Sure, almost any book can be used for pronouns or -ing verbs, but what if I want to find those few best and favorite books for each target?
Of course the books best for SHE are also best for initial /SH/. But how do I organize the books, how do I store them to make each one easy to find? I have tried electronic inventory and index systems. But they are not quick to set up (anyone want to come index my 400+ books by possible speech, syntax, morphology, and social/pragmatics targets?) and poring through an index is not at all grab-and-go. I buy new books every month or so, and who has time in the middle of the school year to sit down and input all the ways to use each book into a big database?
I can imagine a sticker system, like in libraries, where stickers are visible on the binding and are color or symbol coded for different topics or genres. Except the SLP sticker system would code for speech sound, grammatical targets, etc. A book can get multiple stickers if it is particularly great for multiple targets. The books can then be stored as you have laid out here, by holiday or season, but within that grouping it would be easy to pick out the best books for /k/ and /g/ or regular plurals, etc.
As I use my favorite or new books through the year, or whenever I have time to do a few, I can see being able to put stickers on the binding to show how I could use the book. If I discover a great new use for one of my books, I could code it with a sticker on the fly if I have them with me, and the color/symbol system is ready to go. So … now I just need the system! Has anyone designed such a thing? Where to start??
Karen Parden says
I love this because I use books in therapy weekly!!
Yay! That’s so good to hear, Karen!