skip navigation
SAMHSA Brought to you by the US Department of Health and Human Services, Substance Abuse & Mental health Services Administration 
Building Blocks For a Healthy Future Home About Us Links Get Updates Awards
Family Educators Materials
  
Send this page to a friend E-Mail   |   Print this page Print   |   Subscribe RSS Feed
Animal Characters
spacer
spacer Educators photosEducators photos

Lesson Plans
The Classroom Library

According to Scholastic’s Understanding How Classroom Libraries Work: Research & Results, building and maintaining an area where students are free to browse, read, and talk about books helps students attain reading skills and improves reading achievement.

As a central part of every preschool and primary classroom, an effective classroom library can:

  • Support reading and writing instruction within the classroom and, if the students are allowed to check out books, at home, as well.
  • Help students learn and begin to enjoy books about a variety of topics and interests.
  • Provide an accessible, organized, and inviting location for classroom resources, including CDs and DVDs, as well as kids’ books, magazines, and other print resources.
  • Open opportunities for independent growth of personal, recreational reading, allowing students to explore new ideas, interests, and information.
  • Serve as a forum for students to share ideas about books and let others know about their favorites.

Purpose: To find ways to build and help students use a classroom library to improve reading skills and increase the number of children reading in the classroom

Building Blocks has two excellent books for you to add to your classroom library. They are bright and colorful, are developmentally appropriate for 3- to 6-year-olds, and will help your students become Building Blocks friends.

Play Day in the Park

Play Day in the Park
(Easy Reader for 3- to 4-year-olds)

view and print

This Easy Reader features the familiar Building Blocks characters in a rhyming book that encourages children to play outside and exercise and discover the world around them. Use this oversized, colorful book in the classroom or at home to engage young children in reading and counting, problem-solving, and making healthy decisions.

Look What I Can Do!

Look What I Can Do!
(Easy Reader for 5- to 6-year-olds)

view and print

This Easy Reader features the familiar Building Blocks characters and encourages children to play outside and exercise, eat healthy meals and snacks, and discover the world around them. Activities throughout the book let children show all of the things that they can do, too! Use this oversized, colorful book in the classroom or at home to engage young children in reading, problem-solving, and making healthy decisions.

Materials: 8½ x 11” printouts of Building BlocksCharacter Cards (PDF), Know Kit Cards for 3- to 4-year-olds (PDF), Know Kit Cards for 5- to 6-year-olds (PDF), ABC Coloring Book (PDF), and/or Activity Book (PDF); color printouts of Play Day in the Park (PDF) and/or Look What I Can Do! (PDF); construction paper of different colors; lined and unlined writing paper; hole punch and brads or transparent folders; scissors, markers, pens, and pencils; children’s photos (optional); and a variety of students’ favorite library books to appeal to varied interests and reading abilities

Preparation: If you do not already have a classroom library, set aside an area, using bookshelves as “walls.” Add comfort with blow-up chairs, pillows, and rugs or blankets. Gather crafts and writing tools and printouts from the Building Blocks Web site.

Procedure: First, have a class “book talk.” Gather the students together and spread out the library books across a large table or on the floor. Ask several students to come and choose a book they like. Then, have each child hold up the selected book and tell the class why it’s a really good book. Guide the book talk to make sure that the students include the title and something about a favorite character, funny words or rhymes, or colors and pictures. Be sure to show the students where the name of the author and/or illustrator is written on the cover of the books.

Next, tell the students that you would like to add new books to the classroom library and they are going to be the authors and characters in their stories. Read either Play Day in the Park (PDF) or Look What I Can Do! (PDF) to the class. Have the students talk about the Building Blocks friends and what they do in the books. What would they like to do with the Building Blocks friends in their own books?

Distribute the construction paper and ask the students to fold the piece in half to make a book cover. Then, have the students choose pictures from Building BlocksCharacter Cards (PDF), Know Kit Cards for 3- to 4-year-olds (PDF), Know Kit Cards for 5- to 6-year-olds (PDF), ABC Coloring Book (PDF), and/or the Activity Book (PDF) to design a cover using pictures of the friends they would like to have in their book. (Teaching Note: If you have pictures of the students, they may use those on the cover to include themselves as one of the friends.) Have them add a title to their cover based on the topic they would like to write about. For example: Thurgood Turtle and (student’s name) Go to the Beach.

Then, distribute the writing paper and guide the students to combine words, drawings, and Building Blocks’ cutouts to write their stories. Depending on the ages and abilities of the students, you may have them dictate their stories after they have drawn their pictures.

When the writing is completed, help the students place their pages within their book covers and fasten them together. Place the new student-written books into the library. Have the students use the library in small groups, reading their own books to others and/or reading the other students’ books.

Teaching Note: The books will last longer if you’re able to laminate the covers.

Optional Procedure: Tout the new books in the library. Have the students introduce their books to the class, talking about the characters and what they do in the book and sharing a favorite page. Have the students present these “book talks” to parents during a PTA meeting. Make a bulletin board for the hallway, highlighting the top books of the week and changing the books and pictures of the authors each week.

OR

Make a class-created book for every theme you teach. Include students’ writings and pictures in sturdy three-ring binders.

Resources:

  • Build and Organize a Classroom Library from Scholastic presents tips on building, maintaining, and using a classroom library.
  • /ul>

    Please note—to view documents in PDF format, you must have Adobe's free Acrobat Reader software. If you do not already have this software installed on your computer, please download it from Adobe's Web site.

spacer
spacer
spacer Site Map | Contact Us | FAQ | Ask SAMHSA | Privacy Policy | Web Site Policies | FOIA
USA.gov | Plain Language | Viewers & Players
spacer
SAMHSA Logo
Updated on 4/9/2013