CHS Library Program

This page describes the Scope and Sequence of the Library Program at Concord Hill School.

blog01The mission of the Concord Hill School Library is threefold: to serve the literary needs and interests of the students, to support the curricular needs of the faculty, and to serve as a learning commons for the school community. More than a depository of information and story-time sessions, the library is a center of inquiry and project-based learning. The collection currently exceeds 8,000 volumes.  Library programs attempt to instill in students a sense of wonder and a love of literature and reading, as well as an age-appropriate degree of information literacy.

Photo Oct 26, 2 12 15 PM
Getting cozy in the Cozy Corner

Our Cozy Corner provides a comfortable space in which the children can relax with books and friends, listen to online stories,  view DVDs or downloaded video content, or quietly ponder. Within the library a special collection Photo Sep 28, 11 30 57 AMcontains professional development materials and resources for teachers. Another special collection of books on parenting skills and child development supports the school’s commitment to the school/parent partnership. These parenting books are housed in the Development Office’s Parent waiting room. The CHS Makerspace, which started in a corner of the library, now occupies the former computer lab adjacent to the library. The Makerspace is a center for creative problem-solving and STEAM activities.

Each grade has a regularly scheduled weekly period in the Library with the school’s professional librarian.  Preschool and Kindergarten classes enjoy a curriculum unit-based story and choose a book to check out and keep in the classroom for one week.  Grades 1-3 also enjoy stories or other media selected for curriculum relevance, and check out books to enjoy at home.  Second and Third graders also learn how to access information using our online catalog and reference sources. Special school-wide celebrations coordinated by the librarian have included National Poetry Month, Dr. Seuss’s birthday, Children’s Book Week, and occasional author visits. The class schedule for 2015-2016 is as follows:

  • Preprimary: Thursday 11:00-11:30 (One classroom teacher accompanies the students.)
  • Primary: Monday 10:30-11:00 (One classroom teacher accompanies the students.)
  • Kindergarten: Monday 11:15-11:45
  • First Grade: Friday 2:00-2:45
  • Second Grade: Thursday 2:00-2:45
  • Third Grade: Friday 11:15-12:00

The Library curriculum has three main components: literature appreciation, informational literacy, and maker education. Our read-aloud sessions and library research lessons are designed to support the Information Literacy Standards for Student Learning published by the American Library Association and the Association for Educational Communications and Technology. The library’s Makerspace provides a center for collaborative, open-ended, play-driven learning opportunities that include imagination, design, engineering, and problem-solving. These sorts of learning opportunities support important neuroscience concepts while staying true to the core values of Concord Hill School. Makerspace activities may be related to literature, classroom social studies units, or stand-alone special projects. For example, after learning about totem poles in the classroom, second graders designed and made totem poles out of recycled milk jugs. Another Makerspace project was the Global Cardboard Challenge, for which students designed and made cardboard arcade games and invited the school community to enjoy them at a special “Day of Play.” Our youngest students enjoy Makerspace resources that help them develop fine motor skills. Maker activities are designed around the “Think-Make-Improve” sequence advocated by Sylvia Martinez and Gary Stager in their book Invent to Learn: Making, Tinkering, and Engineering in the Classroom (Torrence, CA: Constructing Modern Knowledge Press, 2013). Further, they support the educational framework developed by the Partnership for 21st Century Skills.

As your child’s school librarian, I would like to let you know how much I enjoy seeing youngsters’ literary interests evolve. Please read to you child every day, even when he or she can read independently. I encourage you to read both fiction and nonfiction, and urge you to refrain from using series such as The Magic Tree House as your read-aloud choices. That series, and many others, are written for children to read to themselves, and they often have reading level codes on the back covers. Fill your read-aloud time with books that include richer vocabulary and higher reading levels — your child’s listening level is higher than his or her reading level. If you need suggestions for reading aloud to your child, please see my recommendations on this blog, or handy references such as Jim Trelease’s Read-Aloud Handbook, available in our Parent Collection or through our amazon store.


Grade-by-grade details: Preprimary  Primary  Kindergarten  1st Grade  2nd Grade  3rd Grade

FullSizeRender3At the Preprimary level, our objective may be as simple as teaching students how to sit and listen to a very short picture book. Children also learn how to treat books respectfully, turn pages carefully, and share books with their friends. One of the Preprimary classroom teachers stays with the group in the library. Story choices for these students often are made based on social/emotional bases rather than cognitive/curricular bases. For example, stories about making friends or helping others may be chosen over stories about bears. When possible, we combine both areas with, for example, a story about bears making friends.
We often enjoy stories that encourage physical or verbal interaction by the children. Specifically, if inclement weather precludes outdoor play, we may act out stories in the Cozy Corner. Preprimary students’ collective sitting and listening ability increases throughout the school year, and as the year progresses we read longer stories and encourage discussion among the children. After selecting a book to check out, the children enjoy building and creating in the Makerspace. Typical story and maker choices include:

  • Pancakes, Pancakes! (E. Carle)
  • Wolfie the Bunny (A. Dyckman)
  • Mix It Up! (H. Tullet)
  • What Else Can You Do? (J. Marzollo)
  • The Little Old Lady Who Was Not Afraid of Anything (V. Williams)
  • LEGO/DUPLO wall
  • Tegu magnetic wooden blocks
  • Tinker trays filled with loose parts (wires, corks, washers, etc.)
  • Joinks building components

blog05Primary students generally are able to sit and listen to longer stories than they could one year earlier; therefore, their library storytimes feature longer picture books. As in the Preprimary class, one classroom teacher remains in the library with the children. The children often hear stories linked to their classroom explorations. Cumulative stories and rhyming or predictable books are featured prominently, as the students begin to display new abilities at making predictions and inferences. We also compare and contrast fictional and nonfictional treatments of a topic. The picture book area includes several puppets and dolls; the Primary students enjoy “reading” to these friends.  The Primary class children enjoy using LEGO bricks and other resources in the Makerspace after story-time. Typical story and maker choices for Primary include:

  • Little Pink Pup (J. Kerby)
  • Jalapeno Bagels (N. Wing)
  • Arnie the Doughnut (L Keller)
  • Joseph Had a Little Overcoat (S. Taback)
  • Sam and Dave Dig a Hole (M. Barnett, J. Klassen)
  • LEGO/DUPLO wall
  • TEGU blocks
  • Strawbees collaborative building structures
  • Cubelets robotic blocks
  • BeeBot robot programming and debugging

Kindergarten classes feature longer picture books followed by discussions. The classroom teachers do not accompany the students to the library. Our discussions focus on three important literary elements: plot, setting, and character. Several weeks are devoted to identifying plot arcs (beginning-middle-end) before we move to discussions of how setting enriches the story. Finally, we turn to stories featuring memorable characters, discussing character traits described or implied by the authors. Kindergartners’ choices for check-out include some early readers and picture books that feature sight words prominently. The students also practice the art of storytelling by narrating several of our wordless picture books. During the check-out procedure, each student is asked to confirm that the computer shows his or her name. Kindergartners who make their book choices quickly enjoy sharing the books with their friends or reading them silently; even if they do not literally decode and say the words on the page, their “reading” includes more complex vocabulary and vocal inflection than that of the younger students. Photo Sep 28, 11 36 32 AMKindergartners also enjoy makerspace resources and using iPad apps to create literature-based projects. They share their projects and self-reflections with their parents using the Seesaw digital portfolio app. Typical story and maker choices include:

  • Clever Tom and the Leprechaun (L. Shute)
  • A Place Called Kindergarten (J. Harper)
  • “Stand Back,” said the Elephant, “I’m Going to Sneeze!” (P. Thomas)
  • Sylvester and the Magic Pebble (W. Steig)
  • Stephanie’s Ponytail (R. Munsch)
  • Prince Nautilus (L.K. Melmed & H. Sorenson)
  • TEGU blocks
  • LEGO bricks
  • BeeBot robot programming and debugging
  • iPad apps: Book Creator; ChatterPix; Seesaw; Camera function

Photo Apr 30, 8 37 19 AMFirst grade library classes encourage appreciation of several types of literature. In conjunction with their social studies units, students hear many folktales from around the world. The students learn to recognize pourquoi tales, trickster tales, and changeling stories, and we discuss how folktales can help us understand different cultures. They also hear classical mythology, poetry, biography, and nonfiction. First graders learn to find books independently, and they check out one book for one week. Remembering to return the book on its due date is a new responsibility. We encourage the students to check out books that support their developing reading skills; many students choose early readers and beginning chapter books they can read with their parents. In 2015 the First graders made a papier-mâche piñata in the Makerspace; this activity complemented their classroom study of Mexico. Typical story and maker choices include:

  • Stone Girl, Bone Girl (L. Anholt)
  • The Robber Baby (selections; A. Rockwell)
  • The Flying Emu (selections; S. Morgan)
  • The Story of Ruby Bridges (R. Coles)
  • Mapping Penny’s World (L. Leedy)
  • LEGO bricks
  • Origami paper and instructions
  • Papier-mâche piñata
Alexandria's map feature helps!
Alexandria’s map feature helps!

Second graders learn to find books using our online catalog, and they may check out two items at a time. Generally, one of the items must be a challenging (yet not overwhelming) chapter book; the other is a free choice, including DVD options. Before finding books, the students spend approximately 30 minutes either hearing a long story related to their social studies unit or learning library skills. They also enjoy free time in the Makerspace. In 2014-2015 the Second graders completed two multi-session maker projects: 1) the Global Cardboard Challenge and 2) milk jug totem poles for the school garden. Typical story and maker choices include:

  • Sideways Stories from Wayside School (L. Sachar)
  • Sally Ann Thunder Ann Whirlwind Crockett (S. Kellogg)
  • Aesop’s Fables (J. Pinkney)
  • The Scrambled States of America (L. Keller)
  • Tom Thumb (J. Watson)
  • Once Upon a Cool Motorcycle Dude (K. O’Malley and C. Heyer)
  • Cubelets modular robotic blocks
  • littleBits snap circuits
  • LEGO bricks
  • Strawbees collaborative building structures

Library skills instruction for second graders focuses on:

  • parts of a book
  • character, setting, and plot (reinforcement)
  • map skills reinforcement (using print and online maps of our library)
  • finding books with our online library catalog via author, title, or subject access
  • check-out procedures using our automated system
  • Keyword searching via KidRex safe search (co-taught with Mrs. Opdahl, Director of Educational Technology at CHS)
  • websites: CHS Library catalog; World Almanac for Kids online (for state research)
  • iPad apps: Book Creator; Seesaw; camera function

Photo Feb 12, 1 32 13 PM (1)Third grade students explore various literary genres and information sources throughout the year. They create book trailers for some of their favorite titles using the DoInk Green Screen app, and these videos are posted to our YouTube channel. In 2016 we are devoting several classes to online coding with Scratch and to circuitry, as the students create online games and simple robots. These classes are co-taught by Mrs. Stifel and Mrs. Opdahl. Additionally, every other year the Third Graders create cardboard arcade games for the Global Cardboard Challenge. Typical read-aloud story choices and maker electives include:

  • D’Aulaire’s Book of Norse Myths (I. D’Aulaire)
  • The Matchbox Diary (P. Fleischman)
  • Roanoke: the Lost Colony; an Unsolved Mystery from History (J. Yolen)
  • Feathertop (R. San Souci)
  • LEGO bricks
  • littleBits snap circuits
  • Scratch coding/programming
  • Makey Makey invention kits
  • Sphero and Ollie robots
  • Paper circuits using copper tape, batteries, and LED lights
  • iPad apps: DoInk Green Screen; Dropbox; Seesaw; camera function

Library skills instruction includes:

  • Dewey Decimal classification (focusing on standardization among school libraries)
  • finding books with our online catalog (reinforcement)
  • check-out procedures using our automated system (reinforcement)
  • Creative Commons safe search for images (taught by Mrs. Opdahl as part of the Common Sense Media Digital Citizenship curriculum)
  • subject-specific websites, as needed to support classroom projectsblog06