How to Teach Library Skills to Middle School Students

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Once students reach middle school, research projects become the norm. Students visit the library to use sources for book reports, projects or leisure reading. If someone is not familiar with the way books are organized, finding sources will not be easy. Librarians should concentrate on developing the literacy of her students. Guide students to use the library as a tool, and not as a crutch, during their weekly visits.

1 Use fun activities in library instruction

Use fun activities in library instruction. Students can learn about books by playing games like “Name that Book,” “Readers’ BINGO,” “Scavenger Hunt,” and “Story Webs.” Students can participate individually or in groups. Teachers can also excite the class by offering rewards for the more challenging tasks.

2 Teach students

Teach students the criteria used to find and organize library information. Have students become familiar with each section of the library by explaining the meaning of genre. Library cataloguing can be confusing so give students a complete tour around the library along with detailed information on the shelving system.

3 Encourage students

Encourage students to read and test their fluency. Once a student has finished a book, use an online source or hard copy quiz to test how much they know. Not all students possess the skills to read at a fast pace or retain information. Find out a student's reading level and suggest books according to their skills. School libraries also offer reading programs to promote reading at all ages.

4 Show students

Show students the proper way to search for a source. Journal articles, books and magazines can be found electronically if they are not housed in the school library. Introduce the concept of "key words" to your students, which will make it simpler to find a source.

5 Explain the importance

Explain the importance of technology and media. Demonstrate to students how using online databases, blogs, websites and other sources can improve their knowledge and skills. Give the class brief lessons on PowerPoint and Excel.

6 Place emphasis upon library behavior

Place emphasis upon library behavior. The main rule to follow in the library is to be quiet. Also, ask students to respect the books that they use or check out of the library. Tell them that damage to books could mean paying a fine or not being able to use the books again.

Erica Dallas has been published in periodical such as "The Commercial Appeal," "MidSouth Magazine" and "Black Enterprise Magazine." She is a native Memphian and graduate of the University of Memphis with a Bachelor of Business Administration and a Master of Arts in sociology. Erica is currently pursuing a Master of Science in teaching.