Delightful Kindergarten Library Lessons

Hi, friends! What do you know about Kindergarten Library Lessons? Does the endless energy of your kindergarten students delight you or terrify you?

Kindergarten students waiting for library lessons 

Kindergarten Students

If you’ve been in the elementary school library for more than a minute, you’ve learned about these developmental characteristics of your five and six-year-old students:

  • Their conversational skills are still developing. Sometimes they interrupt, or don’t understand the difference between answering a question and telling you a great story about their dog.
  • They can participate in read-alouds, especially if there are repeated phrases.
  • They thrive on encouragement, and generally want love and attention from their teachers.
  • They think very concretely. Abstract concepts sill go right over their heads.
  • They are still learning how to get along with others and take turns. Their “me-first” attitude is a developmental stage. We can help them learn how to cooperate.
  • Some of your students are still nervous about starting school. A welcoming, organized environment with consistent routines will help them feel comfortable.
  • They can soak in information and learn skills quickly. You’ll be amazed at their growth during this year!
  • They may not know how to use basic materials like scissors and glue. They will need direct, explicit instructions.
  • Your directions need to be concrete and basic, with very few choices.
  • They need and love repetition. 
  • They are highly social and energetic.

Kindergarten Students in the School Library

Most important, you need to have a plan for every minute of your kindergarten library lessons before those joyful bundles of energy enter your door! If they sense in the first minute that you don’t have a plan, they will come up with one of their own. And you probably won’t like it.

I always had a library card and an activity page for each kindergarten student placed at our library tables before they walked in. Students helped each other find their own name and get seated. This allowed me to choose separate tables for those students who didn’t get along, or who did get along but encouraged each other in the wrong direction. This also helped them learn to read their first name. If you have supplies on the table when the students walk in, they WILL pick them up and start using them while you read. I had student helpers take supply buckets to each table AFTER the read-aloud. 

As soon as most of the students were seated, I started our greeting song. I used this Hello Friends song, with sign language, to start every single library lesson. The routine helped students feel comfortable and secure, it gave the signal that we were ready to begin, plus they loved learning the sign language!

We sing the Goodbye Friends song, to the same tune, when it is time to leave the library. You can add songs for brain breaks in the middle of your kindergarten library lessons, but singing the same hello and goodbye songs every single time will be reassuring and calming for your students! (By the way, if you need a bilingual version of these two songs with Spanish, check out the videos from Miss Jenny at the Burbank Public Library!)

Kindergarten Library Lessons Routine

Here’s how our Kindergarten Library Lessons Routine went:

  1. Students sit at tables with paper and library card at their seat.
  2. We sing the “Hello, Friends” song
  3. I introduce our read-aloud picture book, and we talk briefly about what we notice on the front cover.
  4. I read the picture book to the students, encouraging them to chime in when there are repeated phrases.
  5. I explain the activity page, and I explain that I will call one quiet table at a time to check out a book, while the other tables complete their activity page.
  6. One table at a time checks out a new library book (if they returned their book from last week). They choose a book from a shelf or tabletop of books I’ve pre-selected, then walk it up to the check-out desk with their library card in hand.
  7. If students complete their activity page quickly, they can either read their library book or draw whatever they want on the back of their page.
  8. If we have extra time after everyone has checked out, sometimes we sing and dance along to a Jack Hartmann video.
  9. When I see their teacher at the door, we sing the “Goodbye Friends” song, and I call one quiet table at a time to line up with their teacher.

Kindergarten Library Check-out

Here’s what worked for me, in my school library space. I used a horseshoe table to combine my teaching area and check-out desk, for all grades. The big, traditional circulation desk was too far away for a typical day of teaching and checking out books non-stop. I used the circ desk  more as a book processing and work area.

I didn’t let kindergarten students choose books from ALLLLL of the shelves in our library. That would have been overwhelming for them. I had books facing forward in a waterfall bookshelf like the one pictured below, and I placed the book returns from that class on the table in front of me, so that students could choose from their classmates’ book returns.

I used to teach kindergarten students how to use shelf markers and browse the Everybody section before the winter break. Post-COVID, I began teaching shelf marker use in first grade, and the kindergarten students chose from this book shelf all year.

My Kindergarten Library Lessons

I have put all of my kindergarten library lessons together, and they’re available for purchase on TeachersPayTeachers.

kindergarten library lessons

My main focus with these lessons is to encourage kindergarten students to love reading and learning and to think of the library as a happy place. I have a theme for each month, because five-year-olds love familiarity and repetition. I’ve had a lot of positive feedback from school librarians who’ve taught these lessons, and I believe they’ll be helpful for you, too! 

I want the time with your kindergarten students to be delightful, not stressful! If you have questions, please comment below or ask in our Learning Librarians Facebook group. I’d love to make kindergarten classes the highlight of your day!

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