The Lower School library is one of the first places many kindergarteners begin their school day and bookbags are where their journey to becoming independent readers begins. Before school each morning, children come in to pick out a new bookbag from a selection of 100 bags, each with three books offering new books and classics, poetry and nonfiction.
Lower School Librarian Kim Simpson started the program when she took over the library. “I noticed that the boys checked out books on war, the girls picked Disney books based on movies. I knew I could select books that were more expansive to their worlds and more appropriate to their reading levels,” she says.
Kindergarten is the only grade that has prescheduled library classes. During this time we read to them as a group—stories, poetry, biography. Parents communicate with the librarian through the bookbag program by logging the way the books were accessed: read to, read with, read independently.
Once the students have taken an assessment test that deems them ready for more, they move on to choose from a broader range of books in their reading zone.
The librarian attends grade-level meetings along with the technology integration specialist. They coordinate every project with what is going on in the class. If 1st grade is studying insects, computer skills will be paired with information so that lessons are not taught in isolation. The collaboration also allows the librarian to support the curriculum by choosing books, digital videos and magazines highlighted in professional journals.
Every day the librarian offers reader’s advisory. Because of flexible scheduling, this might be done as a booktalk in a big group, but more often is done on a one-to-one with a child finishing a book, coming in for another book. Because of the flexible scheduling, the students can come in as they finish books. The librarian can offer individual help to each reader.
- Our librarian is certified to work with young children. She is supported by two library aides.
- Our Kindergarten bookbag program and individualized reading instruction have improved the acquisition of reading skills.
- The librarian collaborates closely with each classroom teacher to produce research projects.
- We promote reading, viewing and listening on an individual and group basis by reading and maturity level.
- We are available to parents to answer their individualized concerns.
- Flexible scheduling makes it possible to better support our program.