How does our library organise books?

How does our library organise books? This was the question I asked Year 4 in order to find out what they knew. The question was opened and students were told they could write, draw and label as much detail as possible, they were required to stay seated, looking around was allowed – they had 5 minutes. The timer was set and students were very serious about the challenge┬áset. Observing student response and enthusiasm in action it was quick to see key ideas and understanding.

Once time was up each student shared one idea (names called out in random), if an idea had already been shared the student was prompted to build on an idea, for example, one response was A-Z this was added to explain author’s surname which was further added as fiction. A question prompt would be what does nonfiction mean, how do we know it is nonfiction and so on.

Ideas were recorded on the IWB for further reference and as a class summary. It was a great way to gain an understanding of what students already knew and allowed for learning from others. The lesson was an introduction to a series of lessons on using the library focusing on nonfiction.



  1. I love this activity as a starter to teaching children to understand library organisation and to locate books for themselves. This week my students have been watching the Two Ronnies scene on library organisation, and I’ve sent children around the library in pairs with whiteboards to discover the sections in the Dewey system then report back to the class. The more hands-on and detailed the better, but I know I’ll still be helping a lot of young students who will come to me asking “where’s F F?” and “Where’s NON Ber?” despite detailed modelling and practising …
    I think next year I’ll add your idea in to my program.


  2. School Library Owl 17/03/2018 at 1:51 pm

    Great to hear about your lesson Fiona, I just took time to watch The Two Ronnies The Confusing Library which took me back to my childhood as my parents loved watching the Two Ronnies. I will be adding some more lessons covering nonfiction and library skills from this term in the coming weeks including some samples of posters the students designed for learning about nonfiction. Not sure if you have ever seen Medieval Helpdesk video – if not it is fun to take a few minutes out to view
    Kind regards


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