Now that school is in full swing and the newness of back-to-school has word off for the kids, it just might be time for an activity to drum up interest in some of the great resources that you already have at hand. One activity that my kids always enjoyed at this time of year was previewing our classroom library. Actually, the lesson had two purposes – 1) to get kids interested in my class library, and 2) to get them thinking about different genres of books.
I usually started with mini book talks about a few favorites from my classroom bookshelves, including a few different types, such as a fantasy story, a realistic novel, a non-fiction book about history, and a how-to book about a fun activity. I would try to include books at different reading levels,too.
Next, I have the kids pull ALL of the books from the shelves, and pile them up on desks. Then the kids would work in groups to accomplish two goals. First,sort the books into categories. Sometimes, I would assign the categories; sometimes the kids would decide on their own. Second, make a short list of books that they would like to know more about. Kids have fun doing this, and it works really well with a small class. For a larger class, some type of rotation would probably have to be set up.
To end the activity for the day, I would do a few impromptu mini book talks about a couple of the books that the kids have selected. When they choose one that you haven’t read yet, it’s a great time to demonstrate how to preview a book by reading the back cover,looking at the illustrations, and reading a short passage from the book! Again, I would try to choose books of several types and at several reading levels. Then we would talk about why the kids put the books into certain categories and who prefers which categories. We would follow up more about specific types and genres of books another day, but this first lesson is primarily about getting kids interested in books. It was always fun for me to see what the kids chose.
This activity can be a little noisy and messy, but it was always worth it to me. Kids become familiar with your library and are more ready to choose a book and read whenever the occasion comes up.
Linked with Head Over Heels for Teaching for Spark Student Motivation Saturdays.