Library Instruction, Student Achievement, Teachers

Before You Can Start

What to do, what to do.  Here you are ready to get to teaching those bright young minds … (use sarcastic voice if that is how you roll, or not) how can you change what you are doing to make a difference.  Let’s face it most kids and some teachers view library time as a “special” not important, just here to read some books and hang out, maybe take some stuff home and do these boring activities (yawn).  We librarians know this is not the case, but how do we get others to realize that.

The first step – even before getting teachers in the library to work on projects; is to change your view of library instruction just a little bit.  Make what your teaching relevant – library is a great subject to work with because while you are teaching specific information skills, the subject you can use to teach those skills, can be determined by what is going on the classroom.  For example, if you are teaching kids about encyclopedias, see what they are learning about in science or social studies and tailor the activity to that subject.

Studies show that students achievement will increase when library/information skills are taught in conjunction with classroom coentent.  Duh … we librarians have all seen the state studies.  Might be nice if some teachers or administrators read them.  From that we can say that the library is not an island unto itself, the kids are more likey to remember what they are learning if it is related to something they are already doing.  Kinda gives the kids a “place” to put that information in the hierarchy of knowledge they already in their brain, makes remembering all that stuff soooo much easier.  And then they can actually see the benefits to using the library.  And isn’t that our goal.

Talk to your teachers, see what they are doing in the classroom and when, might make your job a little bit hard and give you a bit more work, but no one said this was going to be easy.

Author: SL

SL has been a elementary/middle school librarian for over 13 year having received my MLS from SUNY Albany, in Albany, New York. SL has worked in a variety of settings from rural to urban, with different populations. She is currently the librarian at RCS Middle School. She lives near Albany, New York with her husband and three children.

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