Engaging students in literature


My name is Anne Chowne. I have been a
teacher librarian for over 30 years. And I’m lucky enough to work in this beautiful, brand-new,
purpose-built library. You have a nip around here, girls.
There you go. For the first time, I’m actually
working in a team with other staff in the library. We have another teacher
who works .7, Denise. She works as the other teacher
librarian. We have a full-time
library technician that keeps everything going for
circulation and books on the shelves. We have an aide who actually comes in
for about six hours a week, who helps out with sometimes
cataloguing, sometimes shelving. Whatever is needed. As well as volunteer parents. When we set up the library,
I felt it was really important to have a space
designated for the story time. And I was fortunate enough to find
this great, magical, colourful chair, that just evoked that for me. And I think it is also now
a focal point for the children. They just love coming there. They know that we’re going
to go read a book and go off somewhere imaginary. So poor old Nicholas
goes off to bed… When we’re planning the literature that we’re going to use
with the children, we obviously pick good quality. We want to have fun with it. Any of the activities
we plan around the books, we don’t want it to be dirge work. We want them to be excited
with the different ways and different responses
that they could be. So sometimes we will put them
on the computer to draw a picture
to respond to the book. Sometimes we might go get them
to answer a question on the iPad. So we’re using the ICT
to make them want to do it, but we’re also trying to still keep that love of literature
and not kill it off. Usually in a week, we have 35 classes
come through the library for a 40-minute lesson. Sometimes we will put the two
classes together and do a session. Sometimes we’ll teach them separate. But often we do use the groupings when you see them doing
the different activities, whether it be on the computers,
the iPads, or doing a dice activity. We will often pair them up. We will use that,
we use the older students to buddy up with
the younger students. First thing in the morning, especially Monday,
Tuesday, Wednesday, when we have all our classes – we
have 12 classes just about every day. And we can have up to
a thousand books come back that are returned in the morning,
so we’re ready for all the kids to borrow in each of their sessions
throughout the day. I got some really good responses
from them when we were reading, and they were talking about
the illustrations, and that was really good. Now, as far as the group work goes,
I think the only thing we’ve really got an issue with
is probably using the dice. DENISE: How did we go
with borrowing today? I was pretty happy. We had most
of the children borrow. There’s probably three
or four still, regulars, that we’re probably going
to have to encourage a bit more. I would like to see kids
moving away from certain series. I had one person looking at
the, you know, the Geronimo Stilton. -And that’s all they want.
-Just to move them off. Yeah. Just with Rita,
her English is coming along, but we’ve really just got to watch
what she brings up to borrow. DENISE: Just to make sure
it’s appropriate for her level. ANNE: Yeah.
And I think really watch… She’s looking at the pictures,
that’s good, but maybe some of
the simpler text picture books, just to support her reading
and what’s going home. Because her parents don’t have much
English either, at home. So we need to encourage her
to be able to read something. So it’s got here, “I’m a bug.
I’m a snug little bug.” Can you hear some rhyming words? OK, everyone.
Nice to see you all here. For lunchtime. We’re just going
to go in an orderly fashion. But I think, because
we’ve got the preps here, first we might let them in first,
don’t you think? STUDENTS: Yes. I always want to create a balance
between books and the ITC. The preps love coming into the
library. They’ll race to the iPads. They happen to be the closest
classroom to the library so they’re often up here first. And that’s what they really love. So you’ve got to graft
that enthusiasm, but you’ve also got to balance it with still wanting them
to get that love of reading. Especially at lunchtime, the children
actually own what they want to do. They’ve got a fairly wide choice
of what they can do, within reason. They might be…join up
with the chess club. They could be reading, they could be
working on the computer. They could be doing
any of those things. The reasoning behind opening
the library at lunchtime and before and after school is that the children start
to take ownership of the library. And it’s really a place for them. I think our students
need to be encouraged as much as possible to read,
and to want that love of reading. I think we also try and skill them up
to be discerning readers, so that we’re trying
not only to discern good literature and bad literature, but we’re also trying to make them think about the information
that they’re exposed to. That they can think critically
about that information. I think anything
that we do here in the library needs to impact on student learning. We are constantly reviewing
what we’re doing. So how are we going to know? Some of that is going to be anecdotal
from our observations that we have of the students. Some of it is going to be just Denise
and I talking together. Whether it did work
or it didn’t work. We’d look at any statistics
we have to see if the children’s borrowing
has improved. So we’ll use that knowledge. And whatever feedback we would be
getting from teachers themselves.

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