Need a Way to Keep Track of Classroom Books?

Need a way to keep track of classroom books? Secondary teachers experience difficulty year after year cataloging their book inventory due to the amount of students who use the books and students using the books at different times.

I teach two periods of small group instruction. It is not a course expectation to read independently at home. So, why allow students to keep the book in a messy locker or overfilled book bag? Risking the great chance of them losing it? And a fine?

I got this tip from my teaching partner, Mrs. R. Use the letters of the alphabet to label the books and assign the books to each student at the beginning of the year. For every novel study the student takes the same book labeled with the same letter.
If you use a sticky note “flag” it will fit the book spine perfectly without any spill over. I used a sharpie marker and capital letters. I try to assign a book letter that matches up with a student’s first or last name. I applied a strip of packing tape over the tag to ensure minimal wear-and-tear.

How do you assign books? For example, “Ashley….book A,” “Jimmy...book J,” 
“Brad Pitt...book P,” -okay, so wishful thinking, but you understand. 

At the end of the period, the students turn the books back to the cart. I usually offer an extra credit point if someone lines them up alphabetically. Already, two weeks into reading Romeo and Juliet, book “L” is missing. Immediately, I was able to figure out who had the book. Very drama-free...The L book mysteriously reappeared today lined up exactly where it is supposed to be...in the L spot.

I highly recommend this this system. Subject areas like drama, health, music, and art could really benefit from using this organization due to the books constantly having to be returned and re-distributed. Come September I will do this again for our first novel unit and classroom textbooks.  
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