Welcome to the Wines Elementary Library                                                                             

    How do students decide what books to check out from the library?

    When children come to the Wines library, they are presented with over 16,000 titles from which to choose. Of course, there are some limiting factors (for example, historical fiction about World War II may be a top choice for a fifth grader but may not be an appropriate choice for a kindergartener) but, overall, our students come to the library to make their own selections. When students browse the shelves, they are almost always met with a librarian who knows the collection, asks them what they’ve read (or watched, or listened to) recently that they enjoyed, and asks them what they might like to learn more about. If children are unsure, Ms. Goldberg might show them some new titles or some titles popular with other students in their class. This process, known as “readers advisory” in the library, gives students a chance to explore the library on their own with the knowledge that there is someone there to help them find that for which they’re looking. 

    This opportunity to explore the shelves and choose books that look interesting to them affords students the opportunity to engage with more books and see themselves as readers. The more books they explore, the more opportunities they have to develop lifelong habits of browsing, selecting interesting titles, and having autonomy over their learning. As such, while the librarian  is always happy to help students find books or make recommendations based on their preferences, the most important element of student library book selection is that they choose their own books. Of course, in class, they are learning about finding “just right” books and using different selection strategies to find books that they can decode and comprehend. But in the library, regardless of the reading level of the book (which may be below or above their current reading level), the most important factor is that they made the choice themselves and they feel good about it. 

    For example, if a child brings home the same book or re-reads the same series each week, it provides librarians, teachers, and caregivers a great opportunity to talk with the child about what they like about the book/series, which parts they connect with, how the book(s) make them feel, and what they might be looking for in a new book. Talking with children about these favorite titles that come home week after week is a great way to help the child feel confident and to continue to foster a self-concept that includes a child’s sense of themself as a reader. 

    Whether a child reads books below their reading level because they are attached to a favorite series or chooses informational texts with compelling photographs but text that is too difficult for them to understand, the most important aspect of their library book selection is that it is their choice, that something about the book is interesting to them, and that they want to read it again or find out more. All of the above options are great options - kids are reading for pleasure and developing lifelong habits of reading for joy. As children grow as readers, they will think, reflect, and predict as they read. Adults can support growing readers as they are reading by asking young readers: 

    • to reflect on what they’ve read so far 

    • to make predictions about what will happen next 

    • to describe how the story makes them feel

    • if there are any parts of the story that are familiar

    • if the story reminds them of anything else they have experienced, read, watched, or listened to

    • what they have learned from the story

    If a child or caregiver is looking for specific ideas or recommendations or would like to learn more about this approach to student-centered browsing in the library, please do not hesitate to reach out to Ms. Goldberg. 

    (This section was adapted from “Reading Choice” by Maggi Rohde, Bryant Librarian.)