Many times over the years, as a teacher-librarian, students visited the library and left empty handed. Some students wandered back and forth from the fiction to the non-fiction sections of the library, to the online catalog, and back to the shelves again. When observing the student’s indecisiveness, I would ask the child if I could help them locate a book. The typical response, “I can’t find a book.” As a classroom teacher, you may recall similar scenarios. Parents, of course may notice their children going back and forth from one area of the children’s book section at a bookstore or the public library. The question becomes, “How can we help our students/children who aren’t quite sure what kind of book they are looking for?”
Often times, a library, or bookstore can be intimidating and quite overwhelming for a child to make a book decision. Your detective skills now come into play! Young readers may not have a clue as to the genre or author they want to read next. However, when probed, the child might express that he/she would like a book that is humorous, or suspenseful, or maybe even a book about jokes, or about dogs.
Also, consider asking the child the type book or the name of the last book they read. As a librarian, you can even look up the history of the books checked out by the child, in order to get an idea for their reading preference. Some children love reading historical or science fiction, but do not realize the book is part of a series. Therefore, book 2, 3, or 4 may be available in the library/bookstore. In addition, the child may find an interest in reading another book, not part of a series written by their favorite author.
Last, but not least, direct the child’s attention to the books on display, located on top of the shelves. At times, children forget that books on display are available for check out or for purchasing. As a teacher-librarian, I loved displaying not only new books, but also award winning books, and books about certain themes and seasons. Displayed books provide opportunities to engage children and can open a dialog about books and children’s reading preferences.
Best wishes to your children and students locating books of interest in the library and/or in bookstores!
Book Recommendations: Association for Library Service to Children (ALSC) ~ Notable Children’s Books -2016
Thanks for stopping by and I invite you to join me week after next as I continue to explore literacy topics and issues affecting children.