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A number of years ago I designed a unit to introduce using the
encyclopedia to 3rd graders.  I have taught it in isolation, with a
follow-up project related to the curriculum.  The unit was carried out in
3-4 sessions covering concept of a general encyclopedia, using guide
words, beginning the search with a question and determining keyword,
using headings in a long article, and finally having the students put the
whole process together to answer a question.

I used The New Book of Knowledge because of its type size, content,
letter index in each volume and
because it is broad entry rather than specific, making use of the index
important.  My exercises were all designed so that looking up a keyword
required crossing to a different letter and volume, thus emphasizing use
of index.  Needless to say, putting this together so that no two students
needed the same letter at the same time was a challenge!

Now I am wondering how those of you who teach initial skills integrated
directly into a curricular unit do it.  Last week I had students   looking
up information on black Americans--they were using the catalog,
biographical dictionaries and general encyclopedias.  We assisted those
who used the encyclopedias.  They were excited and it went well.
However, guide words, keywords, and headings were not really taught, and
those who found their information in other sources were not even exposed
to the idea.  How do you deal with this?

Thanks for any suggestions.....

Pat Wassink
Colfax Elementary School
601 University Ave.
Colfax, WI 54730

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