The Preschool class spends the year acclimating to the library environment. The teacher starts the year by reading a story or two. As the year progresses, the class visits the school library to become familiar with the space and its rules. During library time, preschoolers learn to be part of a group while listening to a story. Some favorite books include Snowballs, by Lois Ehlert, and Duck on a Bike, by David Shannon.
The Pre-Kindergarten class continues to develop the library skills introduced in the previous year. During the class’s weekly visits, the teacher reads to the students and invites comments and questions. Books commonly read to the class include Hold My Hand, by Charlotte Zolotow, and Nothing at All, by Wanda Gàg. Students become comfortable with the rules for read aloud time: listening quietly, raising hands to ask questions, giving comments at the end of the story, and letting fellow classmates listen. After reading time, students are given time to explore the shelves and look at books individually or with a friend.
Kindergarten is the first year that students are able to sign out books to take home, and they are excited to take on the responsibility! Before taking out books, students learn the rules for using the library, the protocol for borrowing books, and how to care for borrowed books. During the class’s weekly visit, the teacher reads one or two books to the group, then leads a discussion to facilitate deep thinking on these texts. Some of Kindergarten’s favorite books include The Paper Bag Princess, by Robert Munsch, and Bushbaby, by Adrienne Kennaway.
First grade students continue to develop their ability to talk about stories and their understanding of the library environment. During the class’s weekly visits to the library, the teacher reads two stories and invites the class to compare and contrast them. Students learn to notice common plot features and character similarities. Books read to the first grade include Allen Say’s Grandfather’s Journey and Sherry Garland’s The Lotus Seed. First graders practice rules for library use and book borrowing and are introduced to the web catalog system.
The second grade class comes to the library each week. Read-aloud materials start with picture books in the fall, progressing to short novels in the spring; books include How My Parents Learned to Eat, by Ina Friedman, and Probuditi!, by Chris Van Allsburg.
The year’s larger theme is fables from around the world. During each class, the teacher reads one or two fables and asks the class questions: What is the fable supposed to teach? What situation in real life might mirror the story? What alternate morals can you think of? By the end of the school year, second graders can make the leap from the concrete action of the fable to its application for real life. Students are comfortable with library rules and continue learning how to use the catalog and call number systems.
The third grade read-aloud theme is folk and fairy tales from around the world. During the class’s weekly visits to the library, the teacher reads aloud a folk tale and students discuss the motifs they have noticed in the story. The teacher asks: Does the story feature an evil witch? A good sibling and a bad sibling? Curses or gifts in groups of three? In the spring, each student writes a fairy tale using motifs collected by the class. The class continues to learn about call numbers, alphabetization, and decimal order. By the end of the year, students can locate books in the catalog by author, title or subject, find books on the shelf, and put books away in their proper order.
The fourth grade library curriculum builds on themes and skills learned in the third grade. Read-aloud continues with literary parodies of fairy tales, followed by non-fiction books, novels, and picture books. Students engage with the read-aloud material by providing synopses of the book in progress, discussing important plot elements, and finding connections amongst read-aloud materials. After reinforcing call number and catalog systems, fourth grade students develop their print and digital reference skills. The class is introduced to indexes, encyclopedias, dictionaries, tables and maps, internet search engines, and subject research.
Fifth and Sixth Grade
In fifth and sixth grade, the library curriculum transitions to focus primarily on reference and research skills. Instruction topics include print and digital searching techniques and subject research. Special emphasis is given to engaging with eBooks, which students can access through the FSH library or borrow from other sources. Students put their new skills to the test by participating in the collaborative Fact Finding Quest, which requires students to explore reference materials in order to answer a set of questions.
Seventh & Eighth Grade
Seventh and eighth graders enjoy a library curriculum based on research methods and media literacy. Students develop advanced internet searching techniques and hone their library research and reference skills, putting their knowledge to work when they engage in a harder Fact Finding Quest. In the classes’ media literacy units, seventh and eighth graders discuss the reliability of internet sources and learn about plagiarism and proper source citation. By the time students finish the eighth grade, they have confidence in their abilities to work with reference materials as individual researchers and as collaborative academic explorers!