When kids can read independently, it's time to teach them how to search for books—by themselves—at the library.
I'm not sure if my kids are alone in their lazy-library searches, but ever since they were little, they've leaned heavily on the wisdom of the librarians to help them find their choice books. Learning how to confidently approach an adult at a library help desk is a great skill, don't get me wrong, but there comes a time when kids should be taught how to take that big book searching step on their own.
Since almost all libraries have done away with the old-school card catalogue, finding books is now as simple as following a few prompts on a computer screen. And though all search systems may be slightly different, they all will contain a few basic search options.
Whether your child is looking for a specific book, a book by a beloved author, or a book by a subject area, searching is easy with some practice.
Here's how to get your kids more active in their library book searches:
1. Find a library computer and sit down with your child.
2. Show the child the basic search options: search by author, title, subject.
3. Allow the child to type what he or she knows, whether it's author, title, or subject.
4. Read through the search results together. Show the child which books are in the library and which are checked out. Talk about which books are good options. Write down the location of your finds.
5. Search for the books! When the child actually finds the shelf with the books he or she has searched for, you will most definitely see a happy child.
If your child was doing a cold search for books about a certain subject, remind him or her about how to P.I.C.K. best-fit books.
All it takes is a few times to search alongside an adult—and find the hidden book—for a child to be hooked on the library search. And once the child realizes that searching for a great library book is simply a big game of hide-and-seek, he'll be searching on his own in no time!
Want more on the library? Read these great posts:
• Help Kids P.I.C.K. Best Fit Books
• Library Scavenger Hunt
• Prepare Your Kids for a Visit to the Media Center
• Toddlers and Libraries DO Mix!
Read all posts by Amy Mascott
Are your kids solo book searchers, or do they lean on you (or the librarian) to find books at the library? We'd love to hear it! Share your thoughts on the Scholastic Parents Facebook page, or find Amy on twitter, @teachmama, and let's continue the conversation!