“The room is absolutely quiet. Every individual is remote, withdrawn from the others, concentrated, absorbed, rapt. They are reading. They will for 30 minutes. Every school day of their lives, from when they become independent readers until they graduate at age 13, they come to this library for this half hour of ‘compulsory reading for pleasure.’”
–- Mary Bird Piel, City and Country Librarian, 1945-1970
Beginning in the 7s and continuing until graduation, the children go to the Library every day to read. They are taught how to browse through the shelves to pick books appropriate to their reading level, with consistent attention paid to comprehension. Short fiction gives way to full-length novels, nonfiction, and poetry, and children are encouraged to pursue works by their favorite authors, as well as varying genres, from historical and science fiction to biography.
An essential component of the Library Program is the support that the Librarian provides emerging and more independent readers. Along with the Group Teacher, the Librarian conferences regularly with students to practice word attack skills and comprehension strategies, as well as to explore literary ideas that make their stories come alive.
The Library is also a major resource for children’s research. The youngest groups often take a trip to the Library to look for books that will help extend their block work. As the children grow and their needs expand, their library research becomes more complex. By the time the children reach the Middle School, library research has become a way of life for them, and the library a natural extension of their classroom.