LibraryThe overarching goal of the Library program at PMFS is to encourage students to become lifelong learners. One of the most important skills students learn in Library class is the ability to perform research: finding, evaluating, and applying information about subjects they are studying as well as anything that interests them. Each grade from Early Childhood through Sixth visits the PMFS Library at least once a week for instruction and book exchange. Read on to discover how the research thread weaves its way throughout the grades.
Time in the library for Early Childhood students is all about literature appreciation and some quiet time alone with good books. A typical lesson begins with a book or two read aloud, either theme-related or by the same author, followed by some fun songs or finger-plays. Then, the children can choose books to read independently or participate in a fine-motor activity like a craft or puzzle. In Early Childhood, we introduce the concept that all libraries contain books about everything in the world.
Kindergarteners’ Library class focuses on read-alouds and a lesson about books, authors, or another concept, e.g., letters or colors. A hands-on activity and check-out time are also included. This is the year the children get to borrow books and be responsible for them! They also begin to realize the library contains all different kinds of stories””long and short, real and make believe””and their Fifth Grade Reading Buddies reinforce this when browsing and selecting books together.
First and Second Grade
Library class for First and Second Graders begins with a bookread aloud, pausing frequently to ask students’ predictions, inferences and insights, to discuss new concepts and vocabulary, or to focus on that day’s library lesson. There is often a project or game to reinforce this objective, along with plenty of time for checking out books. First and Second Graders are increasing their independence in using the Library’s resources, beginning with the online catalog and circulation system.
Third and Fourth Grade
Our Third Graders are making the big transition from learning to read to reading to learn, and that opens up so many new possibilities in Library class! In Third Grade we cover content supplements the curriculum, such as:
- Learning how the nonfiction books are organized in the Library
- Delving into an extensive unit on using the dictionary
- Exploring the folktale genre with a study of “Cinderella Around the World”
Fourth Graders perform more complex research, so we delve more deeply into using nonfiction and reference texts including almanacs, dictionaries, encyclopedias, and atlases as well as using a glossary and index. Fourth Grade also has time devoted each week to keyboarding practice, and we learn how to use some fun (and safe) online creativity tools.
Fifth and Sixth Grade
In addition to listening to chapter books read aloud throughout the year, our Fifth Graders immediately start practicing skills during their weekly library visits that enhance their classroom research projects, which include note taking, writing an outline, and citing sources. PMFS subscribes to the online encyclopedia World Book and NoodleTools, an amazing research project and report management tool, both of which are also available to use at home.
Sixth Graders review and hone their research skills, and the instruction ramps up from fact gathering to synthesizing and exploring ways to share and present their research ethically and responsibly. We introduce digital storytelling using animation, website building, and media-sharing apps. The Sixth Graders also participate in book discussion groups twice a week throughout the year, which complements their social studies curriculum.