Library as a Classroom Activity in Primary Education: Activities for Primary Class Libraries
Library as Classroom Activity in
S. L. Faisal
Kendriya Vidyalaya (Shift-I) Pattom
Mob:09447699724/ E-Mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
“The child shall have the right to freedom of expression; this right shall include freedom to seek, receive and impart information and ideas of all kinds, regardless of frontiers, either orally, in writing or in print, in the form of art , or through any other media of the child‟s choice.”
(U.N.Convention on the Rights of the Child, Article 13(1), 1989)
The Article clearly states the rights of a child, his/her right to freedom of expression and the choice in seeking, receiving and imparting information in any form.
School libraries come to the arena at this point. With a variety of information resources in different formats such as printed materials, multimedia, toys, learning games, online sources and a planned and well implemented library programme, school libraries can become critical in students achievement.
According to the UNESCO School Library Manifesto, “The school library provides information and ideas that are fundamental to functioning successfully in today‟s information and knowledge based society. The school library equips students with life long learning skills and develops the imagination, enabling them to live as responsible citizens”
At the earlier stages of their education, children come in contact with books and reading in more than one ways. They may listen to the stories read out by their parents or teachers or try to read whatever they see. Children should be encouraged to use the library or participate in library activities in this tender age, as that will make them more likely to remain users in future years.
1 Library services to primary children in Kendriya Vidyalayas
Kendriya Vidyalaya Sangathan gives due importance to its school libraries. In the line of CBSE School Library Guidelines, it charted out a policy for the vidyalaya libraries in 2007. To provide library services to primary children, there is a provision of class libraries from Class One to Five. The Common Minimum Programme (CMP) for Qualitative Improvement of the Primary Education also emphasises the functioning of class libraries.
1.1 Class Libraries
The Library Policy for Kendriya Vidyalayas, 2007 and CMP for Qualitative improvement of the Primary Education articulate that the Class libraries will be under the charge of class teachers. The class teacher will get books from the main library, which will be in accordance with the standard and interest of the age group of the children of the class concerned. They should be attractively displayed in modulated cupboards having aluminium frame and transparent acrylic sheet cover.
The teacher would maintain a register regarding the issue of books to the students so that he/she can keep track of the books read and students are not given books they have already read.
The class teacher will ensure that every pupil in the class maintains a notebook in which the name of the book read, its author and a brief account of the content is recorded.
The selection of books for the class libraries will also be done by a committee comprising of H.M., Librarian, Class teacher, two other teachers and two students who will be nominated by the principal.
Although the concept of Class library is well defined in the policy, the functioning of that in many schools is not up to the mark. Many of the teachers consider this as an extra work where as some do it for namesake. The main problems that affect the proper functioning of class libraries with some possible solutions are outlined below.
1.1.1 Problems and possible solutions
i) Quality of children’s books available is not as per standards
Children need books that cater their interest and imagination. For class libraries, a separate Book Selection Committee can be formed. Proper planning should be there in the selection of children‟s books. Purchase of books should be a year long process not a year end exercise. The CMP suggested the procurement of fiction, educational comics, educational games/puzzles, children‟s stories, chilldren‟s periodicals and children‟s encyclopaedias. The books should be selected from reputed publishers having good track record in the field.
An oral/written survey can be conducted among students to identify popular books and it can put before the Book selection committee.
ii) Number of books not adequate
To avoid this, multiple copies of the same books can be procured. Proper budget allocation needed for this.
iii) Unavailability of Hindi Books
Hindi language books which are difficult to procure from the local market in the case of South Indian schools can be ordered by post.
Children‟s Book Trust of India (CBT), National Book Trust of India (NBT) and Vigyan Prasar publish good books in Hindi.
iv) Same books for the same class for the whole year
The interest of the children decreases if they have to rotate the same books among them for the whole year. To avoid this, the sets of books taken from the main library should be replaced with new ones for at least three times in a year.
v) Teachers not getting enough time
Children like to become adults and ready to take responsibilities. Two students can be deputed to do issue and return of books during the library periods. They may be given with ornamentary titles such as “Class librarian” or “Class Library Leader”. The teacher can check the library notebooks during this time. If possible, block periods can be arranged by adding the two library periods allotted in a week.
vi) No storage space
Earlier the class library books were kept in lockable aluminium boxes that had been sometimes converted to the teacher‟s personal closet. But this closed access storage systems were against the core concept of class libraries. The books are meant for
circulation and not to store. There will never remain a book in a well functioned class library to keep in teacher‟s custody.
From these we can assess that, Class libraries, which are the first face-to-face of a primary child with books and reading could be effectively managed by giving a little more effort from the side of the teachers, librarian and administrators.
1.2 Library Activities :making them read to learn
The National Curriculum Framework, 2005 gives greater importance to activity oriented teaching and learning. KVS calls for proficiency in languages in primary education along with the former aspect. Where as the CMP for Qualitative Improvement of the Primary Education suggests to design the pedagogical practices in such a way that the child should transit from ‘learning to read‟ to ‘reading to learn’.
We can shape library class room activities by merging all these concepts that can be conducted during library or CCA periods.
Following are some class library activities with its possible or expected outcome.
1.2.1 Activity: Storytelling
Story-telling has universal appeal due to the directness of contact between teller and audience with no other form of expression achives.The qualifications for story-telling can usually be acquired- an agreeable voice, good diction, relaxed appearance and effective delivery.
The story may be told either by the teacher or a student to the class.
Outcome: It provides motivation for follow-up reading, either because the storyteller mentions the source of the story, or the author, or in some other way gives the cue for further activity.
1.2.2 Activity: Reading Aloud
It is closely related to story-telling and preserves intact the quality of the language. Also it is effective in rendering the rhythm and „ear appeal‟ of poems.
Outcome: Improves the reading and communication skills of the students and attract them to the read out poems or stories.
1.2.3 Activity: Book Talks or Book discussions
A carefully selected, complete episode from a book accompanied by suggestions of related books is presented and discussed. It may consist of brief informal introductions to other books of interest on the same topic. The approach may be by subject or by author, etc.
Outcome: Children get an in-depth knowledge about book and other information sources available on that subject area.
1.2.4 Activity: Book reviews and book annotations
Students write book reviews about the books they issued from the class library on their library notebooks. It may contain name of the author, title, publisher
and year of publication of the book, a short summary along with an appraisal containing original ideas.
Where as annotations are done by the pupil for the benefits of fellow students.Thease are recommendations about the books they have already read. Annotations are prepared on cards of uniform size (eg: “Recommended by Priya”).
The cards are pasted on the inside covers of the books concerned.
Outcome: Development of writing and analytical skills.
Students are encouraged to read books that are already read by other students with a competitive spirit.
1.2.5 Activity: Bulletin boards
A “Class Library Bulletin Board” can be placed in the primary section exclusively for class libraries. Information regarding class-wise list of monthly library activities, new book lists form the main library, selected book reviews or write-ups by students reading lists (prepared by teachers), and pupil‟s book recommendations, sections such as book of the week/month, Author of the week/month, etc are displayed. Newspaper clippings on interested topics can also be shown. Each class can be given the duty of maintaining the bulletin board in a weekly or fortnightly basis.
Outcome: Provides publicity for class library activities. Students get a place for displaying their creative talent.
1.2.6 Activity: Open shelf for Children’s magazines and newspapers
Children‟s periodicals (e.g.: champak, tinkle, etc), children‟s newspaper supplements (e.g.: „Young World‟ of The Hindu) and copies of newspapers are kept in an open shelf in the primary block. These are accessible to all students. They have to place the holdings back into the shelf after reading.
Old magazines should be replaced periodically with new ones.
Outcome: Increases reading habit and imbibe the habit of sharing.
1.2.7 Activity: Reading programmes
Most of the library activities are directed towards the increased use of books and the stimulation of reading. The teachers can identify and create many activities in this regard.
i) Reading days
Anniversaries of famous writers are chosen and their selected books are read out completely or in parts on that day.
ii) Reading week
As part of the annual reading week conducted by the main library, class libraries can also plan their week long programmes such as Book
parades (parading famous books to class rooms) and Book floats (books as floats) Meet the Book (in the library),etc.
iii) Stage conversations, Dramatizations and puppets
In assembly programmes, stage conversations between two or more imaginary characters from a favourite book are enacted by the students.
Dramatizations and puppets provide opportunities for all students to participate in bringing to life their favourite stories. These may consists acting out a story read or told by a teacher or student, or improvising dialogue to accompany action.
Outcome: Students become more inclined towards reading and participation in stage programmes will boost their confidence.
1.2.8 Activity: Competitions and Awards
These competitions are conducted as part of school CCA programme or separately in the class rooms.
i) Book Review competition
Students are asked to write reviews about their favourite books read from the class library.
ii) Book games and Literary Quiz
Book games are simple guessing games (eg: name the book described or complete the nursery rhyme).Literary quiz competition may be on books, authors and quotations.
iii) Designing of Book marks , book jackets and posters on library themes
Book jacket protects the book and gives a visual appeal to its content. Creatively designed book jackets and bookmarks attract the reader. Students are given a chance to read the book before the competition.
Poster designing is conducted on library themes (e.g.: I love my Library, My favourite books, Why Read?)
iv) Reading/ Storytelling competition
Reading of sections from a book and telling of a favourite story will be a good competition
v) News Reading competition
Presentation of news is an art. The reader conveys the information to the viewer with effect and feeling. Students are asked to present it before the class.
vi) Favourite Book Contest
A ballot box is placed in the primary section and each student is asked to drop into it the name of his/her favourite book. Results are tabulated and posted weekly/monthly on the bulletin board. One or two students of the most nominated book can be given prizes by lottery.
vii) Library themes
Writing competitions can be conducted on library themes such as
-The book that has influenced me most
-Books I would give as gifts
-Authors from our state/country
-Why I like adventure stories
-My favourite magazines/newspapers
-Books read more than once
-The kind of book I do not like
vii) Best Reader Award
This award is given to the students who qualitatively read and utilised books and library. It can be given in each class (One to Five).
viii) Best Class Library Award
It is an annual award given to the class teacher, for the class which conducted class library activities most efficiently.
Outcome: Motivation to students and teachers to take part in more library and reading related activities.
1.2.9 Activity: Exhibitions and Displays
Class libraries can conduct exhibition and displays of books and other library materials in connection with important days or events (eg: Independence Day, Republic Day, Gandhi Jayanthi, Bal Diwas) with the support of the main library.
Outcome: Great personalities and important events can be remembered and reading about them makes the students well informed.
1.2.9 Activity: Tours
Tours to the main library of the school will be very encouraging to the primary students. The librarian and class teacher may accompany them as guides. They will explain them about the resources available and activities held in the library.
Tours can be also arranged to the local public or academic libraries, museums, galleries and book shops.
Outcome: Children get an idea about resources which are kept in the local (public/academic) libraries and institutions. They became familiar with book shops.
1.2.11 Activity: Online information sources, its search and evaluation
Students are now exposed to huge amount of online information through internet. Finding the required information is a skill that to be taught. Along with this information overload, concerns are there over the authenticity, accuracy, currency and fairness of the online resources.
When you use a library, the books, journals and other resources have already been evaluated by scholars, publishers and librarians. Every resource you find
has been evaluated in one way or another before you ever see it. When you are using the World Wide Web, none of this applies. There are no filters. Because anyone can write a Web page, documents of the widest range of quality, written by authors of the widest range of authority, are available on an even playing field. Excellent resources reside along side the most dubious.
Activities can be made to teach the students to develop the online searching skills and the habit of evaluating it by using certain criteria. The teacher can accompany the child in his/her cyber journey. She can make directories of useful websites and compare two sites on the same topic with each other and with the authoritative printed versions of reference books available in the library. Children can be given projects on finding the information required through search engines.
Outcome: Knowledge about online information sources and its critical evaluation. The activities impart the idea of using Internet as a tool along with printed resources to find information.
1.2.12 Activity: Installation and Screening of CDs/VCDs/DVDs
Encyclopaedic CDs such as Encyclopaedia Britannica, Encarta and Manorama Knowledge Adventure are installed in the computers in the Primary computer lab and students are trained on how to use it.
Class teachers select VCDs/DVDs on Science and environment (eg.TERI), animated stories, poems, cartoons and language skills from the multimedia collection of the main library and screen them in the resource room on a weekly or monthly basis.
After screening, the students are asked to write a review/write-up about the show on their library activity book.
Outcome: Awareness of current scientific and environmental issues. Learning becomes more enjoyable in a multimedia environment.
1.2.13 Activity: Community Resources
Community resources are human, institutional and material resources that are available in the community where the school is located.
Parents who are working in different professions such as lawyers, engineers, doctors, scientists, media persons, artists, counsellors, psychologists, bank officers, post masters, social workers etc are invited into classes. Students are allowed to freely interact with them. Discussions are held on their professions and its responsibilities.
Institutional resources such as museums, galleries, factories, farms, offices etc are also visited by the students.
The teacher may collect the contact details of the community resources and information regarding their availability for future use.
Outcome: Students will get knowledge about various professions and career opportunities. They understand social, cultural and institutional structures of the world outside the school.
1.2.14 Activity: Information Literacy skills
Information literacy is the ability to locate pertinent information, evaluate its reliability, analyse and synthesise the information to construct personal meaning and apply it to informed decision making (Peter Berger, Internet for Active Learners, ALA).In this information age the ability to handle information is vital. Pupil need systematic guidance and experience in the selection and use of books and other information sources. They should know how to seek and evaluate the information, and how to organize and present it according to the curriculum needs. Class libraries can conduct activities with the help of main library to develop information literacy skills. The main information literacy skills for primary children are:
-knowledge about information resources
-knowledge about library rules
-parts of a book
-care of a book
-how to use dictionaries, thesaurus and encyclopaedias
-how to prepare indexes and bibliographies
-how to take notes and refer
-how to use periodicals and newspapers
-how to search the library OPAC
-how to search and evaluate the internet/online resources
Outcome: Acquiring information literacy skills and preparation for using the main library.
1.2.15 Activity: Class Library Newsletters
The newsletter contains information regarding monthly library activities, competitions and exhibitions planned, competition winners, best reviews by the students and teachers, book recommendations, reading lists and photographs of activities. The publication responsibility is rotated among classes and students are deputed as editors. It is released in the school assembly and circulated in the school.
Outcome: Library publicity and creative learning.
1.2.16 Activity: Using Weblogs (Blogs)
Blogs are web diaries where posts are appeared in a reverse chronological order. It can be created easily on platforms such as Blogger, Typepad and Wordpress. The class library can start blogs which deals with reading, book discussions and daily library activities. Students can post their book reviews on it and earn wider audience from around the world.
Outcome: Students and teachers familiarise with web technologies and its possibilities in teaching and learning.
1.2.17 Basic requirements
Proper planning is a must. Relationship between class teachers and librarians should be cordial. A functional Class library committee and a Book Selection Committee having members with keen interest and imagination are positive factors. Continuous communication among Principal, HM and class teachers in this regard will boost the cause.
Periodical evaluation of the functioning of class libraries should be conducted. The number of books circulated and the details of activities conducted in every class shall be recorded. The effectiveness of the activities should be checked and if not satisfactory, they must be restructured.
1.4 Preparation of Class library Programme
In the line of the School Library Media Programme, a class library programme should be prepared every year.
The programme should clearly mention the aim, current status, date wise activities, outcomes, evaluation and future plans.
Properly planned and effectively implemented class library programme will the base for library services for primary children.
A child in his growing age needs books and libraries. It enriches his/her reading experiences and develops skills as independent learners. Age specific strategies should be followed to introduce them the information skills that should be practised through out their school career. A well planned Class library programme, functional class libraries, creatively designed and well executed library activities and proper evaluation make students lifelong learners. CMP for Qualitative improvement of the Primary Education gives ample space for libraries. The teachers and librarians have to make it a reality.
1. Chartered Institute of Library and Information Professionals(CILIP): Primary School Library Guidelines, London, 2002
2. Fargo, Lucile F.: Activity book for school libraries, American library Association, Chicago, 1938
3. Faisal, S L: Adding Community resources to the school library collection, KVS Quarterly Journal, Vol.II, Issue 2, January 2007
4. IFLA: UNESCO/IFLA School Library Manifesto, 2000
5. Kendriya Vidyalaya Sangathan: Library Policy for Kendriya Vidyalayas, 2007
6. Kendriya Vidyalaya Sangathan: Common Minimum Programme (CMP)
For Qualitative Improvement of the Primary Education, 2008
7. Leopold, Carolyn Clugston: School libraries worth their keep: a philosophy plus tricks, Scarecrow Press Inc., NJ, 1972
8. U.N.Convention on the Rights of the Child, Article 13(1), 1989