Our first focus for Library lessons in years 3 and 4 has been giving the children the tools to ensure that they are choosing the right book for them. I have seen many times, in many schools, students choosing books not based on interest, comprehension ability or purpose, but because the cover is pretty or their friends read it and they want to fit in. Books are a personal thing. Books are something that adults and kids alike need to choose because they want to sit with that particular book and take it all in. This is especially important for kids because the majority of their reading is for pleasure. Yes, we want them to learn to read and they have to read instructions to get through the day, but they have yet to be forced to pick up a copy of “Romeo and Juliet” to learn about the structure and meaning of Shakespeare’s works. For now, they should read because it makes them happy, it teaches them fun new things, and it makes them want to read even more, but I digress!
We have provided the kids with an easy acronym that allows them to quickly analyse a book based on a few simple principals, these can be seen in the picture below.
Students were given a piece of paper much like the one above, but with empty boxes. When they picked their reading material for the week they were required to answer the questions posed above. Yes and No answers were not sufficient; they needed to provide reasons in the form of full sentences. While some children struggled a bit to fill in all the spaces, in the end they got there and I think gained a new appreciation for the reasons we choose books. A few of them even went and got new books after realising that the book may be too hard for them to comprehend or on further inspection didn’t interest them as much as they thought.
This week both classes started to do research about some of the authors that can be found in our library. They were all asked to pick an author and, by searching online, find 5 facts about that particular author. The plan is that each of them will make a poster with facts about their chosen author and place it near the location their books can be found. This will be another way that all year levels can assess which books they want to read. They may learn something interesting about an author they have never heard of and pick up a book that otherwise would have sat on the shelf!
When these posters are completed and displayed I hope to get some students to give a video tour of our “Authors in Residence” posters, which I will post here on the blog for all of you to have a look at.