Today was a great day for picture books in the library. We played a game called "Musical Books", which consisted of the kindergartners and the first graders circling around tables to music to pick out their favorite picture books before their reading time. I conga'ed around the tables with them and when the music stopped, they took their favorite book that they'd chosen over to the reading area. We did this a total of three times and at the end of class, they needed to vote on their favorite book they had picked from the table.
I am not sure who had a better time- the kids or the librarian and I. It was fun to do something different and present the books to the kids in a different way. What I liked most about it, though, was the opportunity to get wonderful picture books off the shelves and into their hands more readily than they would have been able to.
I am a firm believer in prominently displaying books for younger elementary children; spines of a picture book do nothing to allure a kindergartner, first- or even second -grader. They need to see the brightly illustrated cover, hold the book, open it and rifle through it to get a feeling if they'd like to check it out or not. I am always encouraging the kids to grab a handful of books off the shelf, spread them out on the floor, sift through them, sort through them, make a mess if necessary so they can see what they want to take home that day. Rarely do they take me up on the offer, amazingly, and we continue to turn our heads to look at the spines and I read aloud titles to them as we walk along.
I thoroughly embraced the idea of having 35 to 40 books out, covers up, ready for the choosing as we paraded around them dancing to our little heart's content. They were readily available to everyone, and even the slowest reader could find success in the game. All you had to do, really, was judge the picture book by its cover and if you liked it, you'd be good to go.
Just when I thought it couldn't get any better, one kindergartner showed me his choice. His reason for choosing it touched my heart -
"This book is my favorite because of the way my dad reads it."
I hope he tells his dad that, because Dad's made quite a memory with a book for his son. That's just the way it should be.