Thursday, March 13, 2014

Our Featured Books Shelf, or Raingutter Shelves at Work (Topic: Dinosaur Books for Preschoolers)

Dinosaur books for preschoolers
As a general rule, I am an anti-dinosaur curmudgeon (don't ask), but a paleontologist came to talk to J's school this week, so we're having a dinosaur moment. Lest I be accused of depriving my little guy of the pleasures of diplodoci and stegosauri (ankylosauri are my personal fave), I pulled out some dino books.

Dinosaurs, Dinosaurs by Byron Barton
My Visit to the Dinosaurs by Aliki
Digging Up Dinosaurs by Aliki
The Magic School Bus in the Time of the Dinosaurs by Joanna Cole, ill. Bruce Degen
A Dozen Dinosaurs by Richard Armour, ill. Paul Galdone
Dinosaurs by Kathleen N. Daly, ill. Greg and Tim Hildebrandt
What Happened to the Dinosaurs? by Franklyn M. Branley, ill. Marc Simont
Dinosaurs, by Jane Werner Watson, ill. William de J. Rutherfoord
Dinosaurs, by Peter Zallinger
Dinosaurs and Other Prehistoric Reptiles, by Jane Werner Watson, ill. Rudolph F. Zallinger

"RAIN-GUTTER SHELVES" (Featuring Books Face-Out instead of Spine-Out)
In Jim Trelease's Read-Aloud Handbook, he writes extensively about marketing books to little kids. In one edition, a school librarian set out a box labeled GOOD BOOKS. The kids freaked out. They actually read them. One came back with the report "Eh." So she moved it to a box called NOT SO GOOD BOOKS. But then another kid argued with the designation. The kids were arguing about books (yay!). Somehow the simplicity of the GOOD BOOKS box was easier to grok than a whole overwhelming library of infinite choices. (I feel that way about supermarkets for what it's worth.)

He also advocates for facing books out from the shelves, and possibly using rain gutters around a classroom to make many many books visible to the kids. I couldn't bring myself to figure out rain gutters, but I did find some nifty little metal slot shelves at the Container Store, and I figured out how to install them myself, and now they live under the whiteboard in our school area, aka the living room god help us all.

ANYWAY, I use it for themed book collections appropriate to something we're doing academically or maybe just a bunch of seasonal books. The kiddo usually reads only a fraction of what I put out, if that, but it's good to have on hand and often finds something he wants to read with his dad. Long story short, I think I'm going to start photographing the collections as per the above Dinosaur collection.

I'm the one in red in the middle. Time is a flat circle.

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