Primary school is an opportune time to do everything possible to increase a child's interest in books and reading. With the size of the library, the sheer number of books available and the seemingly complex shelving system to navigate, children can often be intimidated. There are a few activities librarians and teachers can use to engage children and start them on the path to being lifelong readers.
Library Scavenger Hunt
This activity is a great way to assess primary students' knowledge of the order of the library while having fun at the same time. Teachers or librarians should prepare a checklist for each student with items they must find in the library. Questions can be tailored to fit the age and proficiency level of the students. For example, questions might include the following: "Who is the author of 'Ramona Quimby, Age 8'?," "Name a book title by Judy Blume," "What is the call number for the Blues Clues DVDs?," "What is your librarian's name?" or "What colour is the library notice board?"
It is a good idea to prepare several sheets with the questions in different orders so that students aren't rushing to one item all at once. Children can receive a library-related award, such as a bookmark, when they complete their hunt.
Themed Bookmark Activity
Teachers or librarians can create a template with the outline of a bookmark on a sheet of paper for each student. The students sit at the library tables with their templates and markers, crayons or coloured pencils. Librarians or teachers can choose the bookmark theme: a book they are studying in class, a broader topic such as "encyclopedias" or "animal books" or children can select their favourite books as a theme.
The students decorate their bookmarks to fit the theme as they choose. If desired, teachers can have the children include the title and author of the book on the bookmark. Afterwards, the students can check out their book and use the bookmark as they read.
All About What?
For this activity, teachers or librarians choose one broad theme appropriate for elementary schoolchildren, such as dogs, weather or vegetables. Teachers divide the children into groups and assign each group to a different section of the library--fiction, non-fiction, CDs and DVDs and magazines and journals. Depending on the students' library proficiency levels, they can browse the card catalogue to find material on the topic in their assigned section, or they can browse the section with librarian and teacher guidance.
Each student in each group selects one book or other form of media that fits the theme. Afterwards, each group shows the other students their discoveries, and the librarian can help lead a discussion on comparing the various materials and how they each relate to the theme.