Friday, September 25, 2009

News From the Library--September 28, 2009

Choosing books for K-6 grade students

This week in the Library we spent quite a bit of time talking about how to look books up in our catalog and how to choose the right book. I noticed last year and this year that we have had fourth and fifth graders carrying around copies of Stephanie Meyer's very popular Twilight Series. To be honest, I was bothered. I'm not for censoring books or telling students they can't read a certain book. Instead, I try to guide them to books that are not only at or slightly above their reading level but also, most importantly, books that have age appropriate content and are stories they can comprehend. While the Twilight series might be fine in a middle school and high school school library, I don't think it's appropriate elementary age children.

Busy parents sometimes don't have time to read the books their children are reading but there are some great ways to find out the appropriateness of a book. One of the easiest is to go on and see if there is a review by Booklist or School Library Journal. For example, the reviews of the book Twilight clearly state that they are for grades 9 and up. Another new website that has a search feature by age and grade level is Jacket Flap . A Book and A Hug is another great one that can give parents suggestions about books at appropriate age levels. There are several more to your right in the links section of this blog.

Choosing the right book is a skill and we do work on that in our library lessons. This week grades 3-5 learned again about the "5 finger rule" to check for words they don't understand or can't read, and also how to look at the summary of the book on the jacket flap or on the back of the book to see if the book would appeal to them. Then they practiced reading the first couple of pages to see if the writer had "hooked" them into the story. We also reviewed how to search for books by author, title, or subject in our online catalog.

Grade 1--This week first graders heard the charming story Fletcher and the Falling Leaves by Julia Rawlinson. Fletcher is a sweet little fox who tries to rescue falling leaves only to find that the tree is really okay, especially when it is transformed into beauty with the first snow.

Grade 2--Is it fiction or non-fiction??? Second graders saw a Keynote presentation on the differences between fiction and non-fiction and then we played a game of "Bookworm Says..." Each student was given a command--Bookworm says,"Find a fiction book!" or "Find a non-fiction book!" and they chose from an array of books on our main library table. We had a lot of fun and then when they checked out their book of choice for this week they had to tell me whether it was fiction or non-fiction.

Kindgergarten will start library next week when they stay in the afternoon and Sixth graders missed library this week but had an adventurous week at AstroCamp.

1 comment:

Katie said...

Thank you for this post! I am an elementary librarian at a PK-5 school and many of my colleagues and I have noticed the same issue. I had not thought about directing students and parents to the very reviews I use for collection development, but I will now!