Our school’s librarian was always complaining that the kids never spend enough time in the library. They need to have some idea about all the great books that are actually available in the school’s library, but teachers never take the time to familiarize them with all those books.
Well, I’ve come up with a fantastic activity that kids LOVE, and it helps them familiarize themselves with all the great books available in our school’s library. Let me preface this activity with a quick suggestion: it works best with nonfiction books.
In my classroom, we’re working on our “career and college readiness” essays right now, so I went to our library and checked out 30 different books on careers. They ranged in topic from encyclopedias of careers to books about smoke jumpers. The trick is to find 30 books with high-interest topics and lots of pictures.
I’ll break this activity down into five easy steps:
1. Place one book on each desk.
2. Show the kids which direction the books will be “passed” (i.e. clockwise or counter-clockwise). Make sure each kid knows who they’re passing their book to.
3. Plug your iPod into your computer’s speakers or play music from a CD over your computer speakers. While the music plays, the students must pass the books around.
4. Stop the music. When the music stops, the kids get 10 seconds or so to skim through the book in their hands.
5. Start the music again. Now the students must stop reading and pass their book to the next kid, keeping the books moving.
So in a sense, this activity is sort of like “Musical Chairs.” In fact, in my classroom, we call it “Musical Books.” It’s especially helpful when kids are trying to think of a topic for research papers. Have non-fiction books on everything from geography to archaeology to theology in the mix. When the activity is over, I guarantee that your kids will have a much better pool of topics from which to draw their thesis!
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