kcheckoutdayWhen I started at this job last September, kindergartners had never checked out library books. I didn’t really understand why they wouldn’t since they are learning to read. Of course they need books! But it was my first year, and by the time I was settled enough to do anything about it February had arrived.

But this turned out to be a good thing. I’d been there long enough to see how much trouble the 1st graders have remembering to bring their books back from home. And I’d done a lot to teach them how to use shelf markers when they take a book off a shelf. So I spent a whole month with kindergarten last year reading stories about book care and libraries. And the timing worked out perfectly with the start of the 3rd marking period. They got their first school library cards, and we had a big checkout ceremony in each class. They didn’t take books home last year, they kept them in the classroom. This worked out really well for their teachers, who never ran out of a supply of books to read aloud and use for their centers. So everybody won.

klibrarycardsAnd this year’s 1st graders have been better about remembering to return their books, and they’re much more mature about using the library than my 1st graders last year. So I decided why mess with what works? The start of the 3rd marking period has become the time of year that I begin kindergarten checkout. The kids are familiar with the space by now (a lot of them didn’t come to us for pre-k last year), and they know what the library is all about.

This month we read Library Lion by Michelle Knudsen (and they take turns passing around our own stuffed lion during the story), IQ Goes to the Library by Mary Ann Fraser, But Excuse Me That Is My Book by Lauren Child (I love Charlie and Lola), and we watched Arthur’s Lost Library Book. There would have been more in there, but the snow threw off my schedule and I needed to start circulating. Then we decorated our library cards like the big kids do, and last week we had our checkout ceremony. I turn the monitor at the circ desk around so they can see their name come up on the screen when I scan their library card. Then each student puts a hand on the book and the other in the air and repeat the oath. In addition to promising not to do things like draw or spill drinks on their books, I add something ridiculously funny for each student to promise. “I will not to feed it to a pterodactyl.” “I will not dance on it.” Then they sit around reading their new book for the rest of class. It’s a big hit, they look forward to Checkout Day all month.