Here are a few thoughts and resources I have to share:
Keeping track of checked out books: Classroom Booksource allows you to catalogue all of your books. All of the students are also in the system so they find their name and check out or in their books seamlessly. There is a little initial set up work to use the site, but now that it is up and running it works like a charm. They tech support for the website is also very helpful. Here is a picture of what the library of books look like. Should you decide to use Classroom Booksource, one suggestion I would like to offer would be to use a layout similar to below if you have multiple copies of the same book. Under the Copy ID column it will automatically assign a number, you can instead label the book with part of the title and the number that corresponds to the book in your library. When kids search the title, they will see the title and then can pick the number from the drop down. You can also have a separate entry for each book in your library with the title and an individual number, but I found that to be much more cumbersome. If you are a Spanish teacher, you may find this folder helpful. It has images of the book titles upload to Classroom Booksource so students can more easily identify the title as well. It will save you time from having to download them individually. Maybe you'll find a new title for your library while your at it too!
Check out time: If you can have a classroom computer or tablet set up in a spot in the classroom, that is the ideal situation. Just log in to Classroom Booksource when you come in in the morning and then as students come in to class, they can quickly return and check out their next book. You can also identify other times that work well for you for check out. Since the kids have flexible turn in times for the books (I intend to ask for 2-3 books to be read during the course of the month typically), the check out process is not very disruptive.
Leveling books: With a quantity of books now to choose from, I wanted to help students simplify their selection of books. I wanted a simple system for color coding the books for students to help them choose their reading level more efficiently. I use 3 different colored label dots. The blue label books are the simplest, the orange label books increase in complexity. The red label are what I consider to be the most difficult that I have based on complexity of structures and because they use the past tense. I label the spine of the book with the color label dot and if there are multiple copies of the book, I put the number of the copy it is on the spine as well. Then, all of the books of the same color are next to each other on the shelf. I start with blue on the top shelf on the left and then work my way down on the shelves.
This is a sheet I have for students of the book choices and levels if you would like to use or reference it. I am sure not everyone would code it the way I did, but my students find it helpful. Feel free to adapt it to your own system or needs. Students can use the sheet as a check off sheet to keep track of what they've read (check mark column). I have some new books on order and will update the sheet when they arrive and I can determine where to put them. I teach middle school Spanish, primarily to 7th and 8th graders for 70 minutes every other day. It is what I consider a Spanish 1+ class because we do get beyond Spanish 1 concepts.
Reading response sheets: Currently I am using these sheets for monitoring reading for homework. I intend to seek out more of a journal response format than individual sheets this year due to the volume that students will be reading to have all of the responses in one location. The sheets get cut in half and students respond to 3 questions each time they read. I found Bryce Hedstrom's website, as well as Ben Slavic's for ideas on format and questions to be very helpful.
Grading the reading responses:
My school has a 4 point grading scale. I do put the reading responses in the gradebook as homework under work toward developing reading comprehension. These are the qualifiers I use for the responses. Initially there might be a few scores less than 3 or 4, but students get feedback on how to improve the responses and can redo them if necessary.
I use the following basic scoring rubric for the responses:
4- Responses use clear and precises language to demonstrate comprehension
3- Responses demonstrates comprehension
2- Response demonstrates some comprehension, but may not be completely clear or accurate. Responses may also be too brief to demonstrate comprehension
1- No responses is attempted or the quality of the response is too incomplete or incomprehensible to evaluate
Turning in of response sheets: Students will be asked to read 3 novels during the course of the month in 8th grade this year and turn in a response sheet. I have stacking trays labeled with their class hours and they can turn in the sheet at any time. When I see them there and have a moment, I correct them and then put them in the return folder that is in the bottom of the same tray for their class. A student has the job of returning papers so they check the folder.
Student jobs: I have students who volunteer to help keep the books organized and in numerical order if there are multiple copies of the same title. I also have a student volunteer to help anyone who has trouble logging in to check out or check in the books.
Keeping up with new books: Fortunately, Mike Peto has a site to do just that right here! Thank you!
Funding the library? Keep asking your administration! Talk about how you are supporting literacy in the English and content area classes by increasing their reading in another language. Suggest an exchange? Less money spent on copying worksheets or buying workbooks for homework equal saved money that can be used on a reusable resources like books! Do you have a PTO/PTA, District Foundation or other resource that would offer support? You may have to get creative, but a classroom library is so worth it!
I'd like to give a shout out to all of the TPRS/CI teachers that have shared resources on Free Voluntary Reading programs as they provided important background information to get started. If you have not already looked at Bryce Hedstrom's resources on his website, they were very helpful to me as I got started building a choice reading program. Scroll down a bit on the page and you will find many great resources. I have also referenced Ben Slavic's resources on his website in building my background knowledge, along with I'm sure someone I am forgetting!
As always, what I do in the classroom is always evolving! I am happy to hear your ideas as well!