Thursday, December 15, 2016

Teaching Students to Find Their Way in the Library

I have a personal goal that all my students become independent users of the library by Winter Break of third grade. In order to accomplish this, I work on building their library skills slowly beginning in kindergarten.

Kindergarten: In kindergarten, we simply learn the basics of the library. We learn the parts of a book and the vocabulary word call number is introduced. We talk about how a book has an address to its home on the shelf. We also talk about how we can use the secret code called the call number to tell where the book goes. A basic introduction to using and exploring the library is a great foundation for what students will learn as they continue on.

First Grade: In first grade, I start to challenge the students a little bit. We review the parts of the book and reintroduce call number as a vocabulary term. As we approach Thanksgiving Break, I begin to have the students put little cards in ABC order with a group. We discuss how the books are in ABC order on the shelf by the author's last name. After practicing putting cards in ABC order, I explain the kind of books that we keep in our everybody section and we practice finding the A, B, C, etc shelf of the section. This allows the students to build a basic understanding of the order of the books on the shelf.

Second Grade: In second grade we begin to get even more in depth. My goal by the end of second grade is to have the students be able to locate books in the fiction and everybody sections of the library when given the book's call number. In order to get students to this point, I begin the year with a review of ABC order. As part of their first lesson, we put cards with one letter on them in order. During the next lesson, students work together to put cards with two letters on them into order. And finally, the students work together to put cards with three letters on them into order. After the student seem to have the hang of ABC order we start to translate this skill to finding books on the shelf. First students learn about the everybody section and the fiction section. We talk about the difference between the types of books in those sections and what their call numbers look like. We then work on finding the A shelf, B shelf, C shelf, etc of each section. After we have identified the shelves, the students begin working with partners to find a book by its call number. This skill is practiced briefly during each lesson for the continuation of the year.

Third Grade: At the beginning of third grade, we do a brief review of the call numbers from the various sections of the library. If a call number starts with E with three letters after it is in the everybody section, if it has just three letters it is in the fiction section, and numbers mean non-fiction. We then introduce using our library catalog to search for books. We spend one lesson just learning how to get to our catalog using the Chromebooks and begin to search for books. During the following lesson, we review how to search and talk about logging into the catalog and putting books on hold. From this point forward, students are able to use the catalog to search for books during their book checkout time. Later on in the year, the students are taught about the different categories of the Dewey Decimal System and practice putting nonfiction call numbers in order and finding them on the shelf. By the end of third grade, students should have a pretty in depth understanding of how to find their books in the library which simply needs to be reviewed in future grade levels.