Sunday, 5 August 2012

Primary Class Libraries

School Library an essential component of the school at all levels. Both teachers and students need to be motivated and trained to use the library as a resource for learning, pleasure and concentration. Class libraries and classroom library activities can enhance the teaching learning process at primary level. It can go a long way in promoting reading habits among children and nurturing them to life long readers. National Curriculum Framework 2005 highlights the importance of libraries that should serve as a place for holding discussions, story telling and should have a child friendly ambience with a positive ethos, good lighting and seating arrangement. The Library Policy for Kendriya Vidyalayas, 2007 and CMP for Qualitative improvement of the Primary Education also stress the importance of Class Libraries for Primary Section and provide clear guidelines on how the class libraries are to be organized.

Class Library means allocating space within the classroom for displaying a variety of reading materials which provides ready access to reading materials and act as activity centre to energise the class rooms.
NCF 2005 guidelines emphasise the need for conceptualising the school library as an intellectual space where teachers, children and members of the community can expect to find the means to deepen their knowledge and imagination and recommends the following:

  • One period a week to be devoted to library reading. During this time, children sit and read silently in the library.
  • It is important to let the child choose rather than having the teacher distribute the books
  • Library books can be used in the language class
  • For class projects, encourage children to look up reference in the library
  • Children can be asked to write about the book they have read that week during the language class
  • Let them share a story that they have read with the other children in the class

Kendriya Vidyalaya Sangathan has been giving much importance to School libraries. It has brought out a Library Policy for Kendriya Vidyalayas in 2007 in which special provision is made for class libraries for the primary children. The Common Minimum Programme for qualitative improvement of Primary Education also stresses the establishment of class libraries.

The Class Library will be established from Class I to V and the Class Teacher will be the in-charge.
  • Class teacher should maintain a register to keep track of the books read
  • Ensure that every student maintains a notebook in which the name of book read, its author and a brief account of the content
  • The books will be provided from the main library and it can be replaced from time to time
  • Display the books attractively in cupboards. The books need not be stacked where only the spine is visible. The cover page carries the visual appeal.
  • Create an environment that is supportive of early writing by making sure paper, crayons, pens, pencils, and markers are available
  • Use flashy slogans, poems, banners that talks about a new book and motivate children to read.
  • Novelty is key to motivation and thus the content of class libraries should change frequently.
  • They need to be regularly updated with new books from the main library so as to keep the enthusiasm alive.

The children should be introduced to the books. The teacher may read aloud the title, sub-title, author’s name, illustrator, and also talk about the illustrations of the cover and the back page.
The class libraries can be put into use more effectively with a number of activities.

  • Encourage children to predict the plot, share what they see on the cover page, and share their experiences. Such things motivate children to read and confirm their predictions.
  • Engage learners to respond to what they read. Their opinion about the book and the view point needs to be respected.
  • Introduce sharing time when children share their reading experiences.
  • Key words from a book can be selected on the bulletin boards as sight words.
  • The teacher can ask children to read and narrate a story. Picture books can be created using the characters of a story but altering the plot
  • Make riddles about the characters they studied and play a quiz, build story maps.
  • Other literary activities may include writing an introduction for a book, making a poster, role play, letter writing.
  • Activities and competitions - Book Reviews, Book exhibitions, book clubs, Celebration of reading day/reading week, Vote for Favourite Book, Best Reader Award etc.

A class library needs to be equipped with a variety of reading material. The books for the class library should be done judiciously keeping in mind the reading level of the children. A variety of children’s literature should be available to readers. This includes wordless picture books, comics, fantasy stories, humorous stories, mysteries, biographies, experiential stories, folk tales, fables, poems etc. Other reading material like book reviews, catalogues, brochures, pamphlets, magazines, newspapers etc. Diversity of language should be encouraged and emphasis should be on usability of the book rather than longevity. Hardbound, dull binding should be avoided.
A good book is

  • Entertaining, with attractive illustrations
  • Presented in a clear, rich and simple language
  • Contains interesting imaginative characters, events, themes and situations
  • Provides knowledge/pleasure and have rich and varied content

Availability of Books
There are a good number of children’s publications available in the market. Publishers like Children’s Book Trust, Ekalavya, Scholastic, Oxford University Press, Cambridge University Press, TERI, Tulika, MacMillan, Putak Mahal etc. publishes quality books for children. Magazines like MagicPot, Wisdom, Children’s Digest, Champak, Chakmak, Children’s World, Balbharati, Nandan etc. can also be subscribed for class libraries.

To encourage effective and maximum utilisation of the class library a sense of belongingness should be developed among the children. 
Visit the main library with children and allow them to select material for reading and place it in their class library will help to generate the sense of belongingness. 
If they develop the feeling of ownership, they will maintain the reading materials properly. 
Class library magazines may be brought out which may contain stories, poems, drawings/paintings, book reviews etc by children. This may be kept along with other reading materials.
Wear and tear of books is natural. 
They should be taught how to handle the books carefully. Let the children handle the books and do not scold them if the books get damaged. 
Children should be engaged in mending books and thus tapes, scissors, glue should be provided to them which they will enjoy. 
Encourage children to share the books they read at home and place it in class library for a day or two for others to read. 

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