Saturday, October 1, 2016

Teaching the ABCs and 123s of Fiction and Non-Fiction Books

For the last few weeks, I've been working with the kids on how to find library books with greater independence. One of my primary goals in library is to give the students the skills they need to quickly and easily find what their looking for.

This year, I spent two weeks teaching the 1st-5th graders a lesson I called, "The ABCs and 123s of Finding a Library Book."  The first week we focused on the ABCs of finding fiction books. The second week, we worked on the 123s of non-fiction books. 

I began by comparing our library sections to neighborhoods in which the books live.

With that analogy in mind, the students had a pretty easy time of understanding how to find the books with the call numbers (addresses). 

It was a rewarding endeavor for a couple of reasons:
1) quick results -- the kids were so much more independent, which made all of us feel successful
2) I could see the light bulbs going off throughout the lesson. One of the kids commented. "But that's so easy! And it makes so much sense!" 

It really does make sense. Library organization is very systematic, thanks to Melvil Dewey. You just have to know how to use the ABCs and 123s of call numbers!  I've made this resource available in my TpT store. It's editable, so you can modifiy the text to meet your needs. If you think you can use it, take a look!

To get our little ones (kindergarten) ready for the that lesson (when they are in 1st grade), I focused on teaching them the difference between fiction and non-fiction. I started by reading one of each type of book: Fall by Tanya Thayer was my non-fiction selection, and There Was an Old Lady Who Swallowed Some Leaves by Lucille Colandro. 

After reading the two books, we discussed the differences between them. Then we worked with  a set of pocket chart cards I developed. 
The cards featured the pages of two original stories I created, All About Fall (non-fiction) and Mouse Gets Ready for Fall (fiction).

We had already discussed the characteristics of each type of books (while reading our two examples), and we had gone over these posters, so they had a good idea of the features of each type.
As I held up and read each cards to the kids, I had them raise one finger if they thought the card belonged to a fiction book, or two fingers if it belonged to non-fiction fiction. We sorted the cards into the two categories. 

They nailed it, of course!  Smart little kiddos! I was happy to hear from classroom teachers that they were using the terms appropriately in class. That's always the true test of whether they've generalized the skills.

If you can use this resource, it's also available in my store. Take a look here.

Happy Fall!

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