Miss Dorothy and Her Bookmobile and Biblioburro
- Summer Reading / Exploring Local Library Resources. It is the perfect time of year to work with your community librarians to encourage summer use of the local libraries. Many libraries run summer programs and your local librarians would probably be delighted to have you talk up the programs with your students and their families. Organize a field trip to the library or a special visiting day for families on a weekend. Make it a point to make your students and their families aware of all the service that your local libraries offer, such as interlibrary loan, e-books, and the wide array of materials available for check out, including video, audiobooks, and often toys and games
- Dramatic Play & Book Talks. Your primary grade students may enjoy an opportunity for dramatic play. Construct a bookmobile with the students that you can use to deliver books to the other primary grade classrooms in your school. A wagon or overhead projector cart could serve as a sturdy base. Use craft paper and other recycled materials to transform the car or wagon into a vehicle or an animal that could carry books (use the links in resources below for images of traveling libraries as models). Work with your school librarian to guide students to make decisions about what types of books to include in their traveling library. Alternatively, older students could pick favorite selections and prepare and deliver book talks as they visit classrooms to offer up their book choices.
- Organizing a Book Giveaway or Swap. Invite your students to share books from home that they no longer use with others who may have a need for books. Your students could organize a book drive to collect titles to give to a community organization or you could organize a book swap within the school.
- Interview a Librarian. Invite your community and school librarians to your classroom to discuss the work that they do and what inspired them to become librarians. You may want to make this a family event – invite parents and serve refreshments. Students should prepare for the visiting by developing interview questions for the librarians.
- Thank You Letters. Miss Dorothy receives many thank you letters from people whose lives she influenced. Ask your students to think of a person in their life who has been a role model or contributed significantly to their learning or development. Invite students to compose, revise, and send a thank you letter to the person they have identified.
- The Age of E-Books and Book Apps. We have entered a new era of reading practices now that e-readers, smartphones, and iPads have become more readily available. Make arrangements through your school or local libraries for your students to explore some of the available e-books (fiction, nonfiction, and picture books). Discuss the e-reading experience and how it may be similar to and differ from the experience of reading a book. You may want to delve into the history of bookmaking. Have your students create a timeline of book printing technologies and predict how the reading experience may continue to change as new technologies emerge. The “History of Books and Printing” research guides maintained by the New York Public Library (see link below) may be useful to you.
- Budgetary Decisions: Reading is Fundamental (RIF) is a nonprofit program designed to put more books into the hands of children. The program operates largely on federal funding and this funding is currently in jeopardy. Open a discussion of the impact of access to books for children. You may want to share some of the research that has been done on the disparities in access to books that exist in the United States (http://www.edresearch.info/access.asp). Ask students what factors our legislators should consider when they are forced to make hard choices about how funds should be allocated.
- Library Funding. In Miss Dorothy and her Bookmobile, community residents raised funds for the bookmobile and ultimately for the library. Luis Soriana used his personal resources to begin his traveling library, which later benefited from donations. Investigate the funding resources for your school and local libraries. Ask your students to form an opinion on whose responsibility it is to ensure broad access to library resources. How should libraries be funded?
- Describes the 1930’s WPA initiative and includes a fictionalized day’s journey with a “packhorse librarian.”
- A team of animal character take action to prevent their local library from closing.
- Detailed illustrations and brief text describe all kinds of libraries from bookmobiles, to libraries on board an aircraft carrier.
- An informational book about libraries and their functions. Since the book is dated, it could serve as a launching point for a discussion of the new technologies employed in today’s libraries.
- In this historical fiction picture book set in 1930’s Appalachia, young Cal (whose sister is an avid reader) slowly comes to understand the joys of reading through visits from the packhorse librarian.
- An anthology of poetry about books and reading.
- Another collection of poetry about books and reading.
- A collection of illustrated poems that celebrate the pleasures of books and reading.
- Based on the life of educator Tomás Rivera, this picture book describes Tomas’s discovery of the local library in the town where his migrant family is working.
- The author describes varies means of transporting books to young reader, ranging from camels to boats, in thirteen countries around the globe. Illustrated with photographs.
- Inspired by a real-life librarian, this rhyming picture book depicts a book lover who donates her collection to create a library.
About Erika Thulin Dawes
Erika is a professor of language and literacy at Lesley University. A former classroom teacher, reading specialist, and literacy supervisor, she now teaches courses in children’s literature, early literacy, and literacy methods. Erika is the co-author of Learning to Write with Purpose, Teaching with Text Sets, and Teaching to Complexity.
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