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Thank you to all who replied.

Pat Silver, Librarian
Minglewood Elementary, Clarksville, TN

In the past I've used "Library Skills: Learning Centers for the Primary

Grades" by Ruth Snoddon. Published by The Center for Applied Research in




I do centers in between units.  I usually only do centers with 1-3 gr. I set
up different areas of the library with things/activities either related to
the unit we just finished, or the one we are about to embark upon.  For
example, with an author/illustrator unit, I had one center with all of his
books, at the coloring/art center the students could make chalk drawings
like the illustrator.  I might also add a listening center with his books on
tape. I also have an Arthur Goes to the Library game I usually set up, along
with a puzzle center.  The students here know how much I love "outdoorsy"
things, so I have a rather large collection of butterflies, caterpillars,
hornets nests, etc., which also can become a center along with various
nonfiction books related to the stuff in that center.  I also usually have a
"special book" center which contains a variety of beautiful pop-up books not
normally available for student check out.  Basically, my philosophy is that
I try to think of things kids are interested in, relate them somehow to the
library and then do whatever I want!


Try Geo-Safari Globe Jr. or a magnetic U.S puzzle map, puzzles, puppet
theater, listenig center, reading center, (We are doing a camping theme this
year) tent, book and stuffed animal or puppet.


In no particular order:


*     I always have activities for dictionary, atlas, and encyclopedia (in a
rush, I make a table that relates to a topic; "Explorers" for the fourth
graders, for example). Usually, there's a nonfiction station: for October
I'll use bats, spiders, and probably pumpkins.

*     I choose a few AR books (sometimes around a theme, usually not) that
can be read in 15-20 minutes; that group takes tests and records the titles
and scores (not that important to me, but it keeps them honest).

*      There's usually a writing center; I found something called "Story
Sparkers" (pictures on the front, questions on the back) that I use there.
At times, I put wordless books there and let the students write the story.


      I have used World Almanac for Kids at a station, and sometimes there
are activities online (math practice or some language arts skill or a quiz)
that I'll assign a group to work on.


      Listening center is a favorite.


Sometimes each class rotates through all the centers before I change
them---most often, not. If there's a reason I have less than a full class,
or if I have latecomers, this works in a way that whole-group does not. This
allows them to talk, help each other, and also get used to being in a
library and being responsible for doing your work (not goofing off because
"someone else" will answer all the questions).


It lets me pull a small group for instruction with me (on the OPAC, for
example), and it eliminates the mad rush at the end of class at the desk---I
circulate among the groups and give each one in turn a "break" to get up and
choose their books. More often, than not, they rush to return to their
groups to complete the assignment. Discipline is SO much easier this way.


Set up isn't difficult---I have clear acrylic sign holders with the
directions, and I've attached plastic sheet holder pockets to hold the
copies for each group (think sheet protectors with adhesive strips instead
of holes). Just add a pencil cup, and each group is ready to work as soon as
they walk in.



I just started doing centers.  I have 6 tables of

approx 4 students each.  I took 6 book pockets mounted them on a board. In

each pocket I wrote a center.  Each pocket is number.  The kids from table 1

go to center 1; kids from table 2 go to center 2.  That prevents too many

kids at one center.  The centers I have are:

Computer (I have computer games like Magic School Bus)


Math (pattern blocks, geoboards, etc)


Reference (a basket of Guinness book of World Records, Scholastic world

records, I Spy, Optical Illusions)

A basket of word searches, low-level skill sheets for the K-1, and pages

copied from a book called the Uncoloring book



I do centers in my library with K-2 as a special treat.
I have computer center, puppet center, lego center, felt story board center
and chalk stories


I used to have listening centers with books and audio tapes, puzzle centers
with book connections, activity centers with coloring sheets, dot to dots,
mazes, etc also with book tie-ins. All of the centers were very popular with
the students.



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