This picture was taken during dismissal on the last day of our spring book fair. I love that it captures one minute of complete tech-free engagement. It could have been taken 100 years ago except the kids would be wearing different clothes. Here’s what sold well last week: pink books, picture books featuring a certain pigeon, books about a ship that hit an iceberg 100 years ago, and short chapter books featuring dogs or horses.
And speaking of low-tech engagement, something kind of cool happened in the library yesterday. A group of 1st, 2nd and 3rd grade students came in for their regular class visit. After we read our story and the children selected their books, there was some time left. It was not the day for another story. Those of you who work with groups of six, seven and eight-year olds will know exactly what I mean. Another 15 minutes of reading aloud wasn’t going to happen. I had to throw a Hail Mary Pass, but it worked. I took a stack of “novelty” books – books we keep in a browsing area, but are often overlooked. I spread them out on the floor and told the kids to “go crazy.” I may not have used those exact words, but something along those lines. They seemed skeptical, but since there were no other options, they started looking. A few minutes later it was quiet again. The key was not opening the whole library for browsing, but selecting the books for them. If you find yourself in a similar position, these are the titles that most engaged the kids:
I Spy by Walter Wick and Jean Marzollo (there are many titles in this popular series – our students enjoy the Super Challenger!)
At the Seaside by Germano Zullo and Albertine
Egyptology by Emily Sands
365 Penguins by Jean-Luc Fromental
Panorama: A Foldout Book by Fani Marceau and Joelle Jolivet (If you’ve never seen this book, it’s worth the effort to find it. It opens up into one long panel featuring wildlife from around the world. One side is day – and the other side is night. Very cool…)
Where’s Walrus? by Stephen Savage