New readers can get overwhelmed when presented with an abundance of books from which to choose. Beyond a random grab or selecting books based upon cover designs, novices don’t know how to select books the way more experienced readers do and little ones can get lost in the dizzying number of choices.
So, how do we usher small children from utter confusion to comfortable selection? Well, first we need to help them understand there IS an organizational system they can use to find what they want. Then we need to help children strategically search the system so they are presented with just enough books to make their hunt pleasant and fruitful.
The Unite for Literacy online library has been growing steadily this year, with two new books added every week. The number of free books available to our patrons is now beyond 130! As a result, we felt it was time for us to sort and categorize our books so youngsters can go directly to a selection of books they will enjoy.
Welcome to our newly configured Unite for Literacy library!
We have added a series of buttons just above the bookshelves that invites readers to select a general early childhood topic (Animals, Plants and Food, Earth and Sky, Technology, Healthy Me, Family, Friends, Community, Create and Play, Know and Learn). As each button is clicked, it changes color and its full category name appears next to it. Above you see that Animals has been selected because the button is purple and its name is displayed. The 25 books that appear in this collection all include animals.
On the far left side of the button band, you’ll find an icon depicting a speech bubble with the globe in it. This is where you can select a second language (in addition to English) in which to hear the book, like Spanish. The combination of Animals and Spanish yields 24 book from which to choose. If I change the narration language to Italian, the screen blinks and all of the animal books with an Italian narration appear (there are just five so far).
Another feature we hope children and their families will enjoy include a button with three books on it. Clicking this button will display all of the books from all 10 categories that are available in the selected language. The button on the right that looks like a clock displays books that the patron has read recently, offering children an easily accessible list of their latest favorites.
Finally, for smartphones and other screens that can’t display all of the buttons at once, we offer an arrow at both ends of the long button band indicating there are more buttons to view in either direction.
We hope these new search and find tools offer families and new readers the means to spend more time with books they prefer. Please share with early childhood educators, parents and school age children that these resources, which are free for them to read and enjoy, are now even easier to navigate!