Kristin Steingreaber, Media Specialist
The following definition is included in Iowa Code 281—12.2(256)
“Library program” means an articulated sequential kindergarten through grade 12 library or media program that enhances student achievement and is integral to the school district’s curricula and instructional program. The library program is planned and implemented by a qualified teacher librarian working collaboratively with the district’s administration and instructional staff. The library program services provided to students and staff shall include the following:
- Support of the overall school curricula;
- Collaborative planning and teaching;
- Promotion of reading and literacy;
- Information literacy instruction;
- Access to a diverse and appropriate school library collection; and
- Learning enhancement through technologies.
Central to the meaning behind a library program, is that it isn’t an activity or a one-time event, but instead planned instruction to help our students and teachers be successful in our communities. Decisions have to be made each school year on instruction. Back to school for teacher librarians is not about stamping new books, so much as it is making sure connections are being made between resources and learning in school.
Example One – Support of the overall school curricula / Collaborative planning and teaching
Following best practice to provide students experiences with close reading, teachers are looking for short passages that students can “read with a pencil” or electronic marking system like the app Skitch. Students are to identify what is confusing and watch for patterns that help them with their understanding. Guidance from reading professionals in the field suggests giving students the chance to struggle a bit.
Teacher librarians are ready to help teachers find those short passages including:
- Daily articles from Student News Net (available in multiple lexile levels)
- Short passages from Rosen Power Knowledge Science Suite – Life Science, Physical Science and Earth & Space
- Sections of Britannica articles
- Selections from EBSCO’s Poetry & Short Story Collection
- Working with classroom teachers, they are able to identify the best close reading resource for the content area.
Teacher librarians can show students how to use the Skitch app and make sure it is added to each Kuno tablet or iPad. It is also possible that continuing on work they did last year with a particular class, the students are ready to use Skitch without new instruction.
Teacher librarians like classroom teachers, make adjustments in their instruction based on the concept of a library program.
Example Two – Learning enhancement through technologies
The following scenario is being played out in schools around our AEA. Last year, the teacher librarian helped classroom teachers and 6th grade students create their own Visual Thesaurus accounts. This year, as 7th graders, a quick reminder of how to use the site will be enough.
It’s time to register the new class of 6th graders! This ongoing practice and continued use of this rich resource helps students understand that the resource Visual Thesaurus is one they can use for several years to help them with their writing vocabulary.
As of August 19, 2013, we have 2632 student accounts in Visual Thesaurus –http://greatprairie.visualthesaurus.com
Students also participate in the curriculum through the Rosen CyberSmarts program. A series of 5 ebooks, the titles are: Protecting Your Privacy Online; Stopping Cyberbullying; Using Social Networks; Playing Games Online and Avoiding Predators Online. Teacher librarians begin each year working through the interactive books, videos and lessons with students.
For schools just passing out their Kuno Tablets to 3rd through 5th graders, CyberSmarts is part of the library’s planned instruction to help students in their new online learning environment.
Example Three – Promotion of Reading and Literacy
Key to this example is that this is a program! The Kindergarten and 1st grade students are working on Phonemic Awareness. Ready with rhyming games, nursery rhymes and other resources, the teacher librarians have also read professional materials from authors including Timothy Shanahan.
The Music & Rhyme ebooks in BookFlix include Chicka Chicka Boom Boom by Bill Martin, Jr., and John Archambault and Let’s Have Fun with Alphabet Riddles A to Z are on their list of books to share with students.
A colleague, Kathy Kaldenberg, has renamed her E (sometimes called Easy or Everybody) books to “Read, Read, Read.” The enthusiasm is clear, even in the naming of this section of the library. You will also notice that Michelle Bentler, Middle School Teacher Librarian at Fort Madison uses the “Read, Read, Read” label for her website where she promotes great reading ideas.
Teacher Librarians are always looking for new ways to promote reading and literacy. Two inspired Middle School examples from the summer:
- Pair your graphic novels in Middle School display with Picture Books.
- Think about creating videos – students can produce their own book trailers and have them displayed on the library TV.
Library Programs – Planned! is the first in a series of articles by Kristin Steingreaber, 2013-14.