This year, the Kindergarten team at my school has gotten very excited about having their students come to the media center to do research. In previous years, they were unsure about what research might look like for Kindergarten students and if and how they might use the computers. We’ve taken some very small steps to get started this year.
First, we explored informational text. The students are already familiar with using pictures to make predictions about narrative stories. I used this to dive into how we get facts from pictures in informational text. I first showed a picture in a book via the document camera. Students made guesses about what they thought was in the picture. Then, I expanded the view in the document camera to show the caption. We read the caption and discovered what we could learn just by reading the captions under the pictures. So often, I see students open up informational text and begin telling all about what’s in the book just by looking at the picture without ever reading. I wanted to reinforce at an early age that reading is the most important way we can know for sure what a picture is in a book. Teachers then brought students in small groups to checkout books about animals and each student used the captions, headings, and for some, even the whole text, to get the information that they needed.
In another lesson, we used Encyclopedia Britannica Online for elementary via Gaileo. This is a great tool for young students because they can click on the speaker icon and have the computer read the text to them. In our lesson, we talked about the keyword we would type in. Teachers had student topics written on index cards for students to reference in the lab. Next, we chose an animal as a model and walked through typing in the name, searching, and reading each section of the encyclopedia page. Along the way, we paused and retold the information we had learned, which is a Kindergarten standard. The teacher, paraprofessional, and I all walked around and assisted students as needed. We were all surprised and pleased with how excited the students were to learn about their animals. They still needed a lot of assistance, but they left the media center with a few morsels of information and had a successful session of research.
I share this in the hopes that you will in turn share thoughts you have for supporting our youngest learners with research in the library. What are you doing to support them? What have you struggled with? What are you thinking of trying? Share away!
David C. Barrow Elementary