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Tuesday, January 25, 2011

First Grade Inquiry

Most of the first grade teachers at my school limit the children's book selections to the Everybody section of the library. Though it helps the children learn how to find books well in alphabetical order, it limits their desire to search for and check out items from the nonfiction section. Many times during first semester, children would ask for "a dog book" or "a dinosaur book" or "a book about ships". I could always find something to suit them in the E section (What Pete Ate From A to Z by Maira Kalman, Dinosaur Bob and His Adventures With the Family Lazardo by William Joyce, or The Circus Ship by Chris Van Dusen).

Today 24 first graders sat on the story steps and listened to me describe almost 50 nonfiction books! When we looked at the clock, we were amazed to see their library time was done! All of us were so engrossed in the experience that lost track of time. I asked if any of them discovered a book on the cart they liked. All hands raised! Their tastes were varied, but their desires to learn more about topics of interest to them specifically led them to things like Black? White! Day? Night! by Laura Vaccaro Seeger and Elisha Cooper's Ice Cream. Like these children, we all learn more when our natural instincts for inquiry are stimulated.


  1. Oh, I hope those first graders can check out "harder" fiction books. Students can "read up" when they are especially interested in a subject, and so many boys in particular are more interested in reading nonfiction than fiction. Nonfiction can often be the way to hook those reluctant readers, as I'm sure you know.

  2. If only someone had introduced me to non-fiction when I was in first grade.

  3. Interest and inquiry drive the level of reading! I agree, David. What would you have loved best to read in the nonfiction section, Brattcat?