What You Need:
- Index cards
- Treasures (stickers, pencils, beads, or whatever small item your child might like)
What You Do:
- Before your visit to the library, select some books that you would like your child to find. Be sure to select some from both the adult’s section and the children’s section. That way you will be exploring both call numbers and call letters. (Children’s books are usually shelved alphabetically by author.)
- Write down the call numbers or letters of the books on index cards.
- On the day of your visit to the library, put a separate index card into each book you selected for your child’s hunt. Write on the card something like, “Congratulations! You found this book. You may collect a treasure!
- While at the library, show your child the numbers or letters on the end of the rows of the shelves at the library and ask him if you are at the right spot. Would the number (letter) we are looking for be in this row?
- When you are in the correct row, point to a book and ask your child if the number you are looking for is greater than or less than that one. Is the number smaller or larger? Does the letter he wants come before or after this one? You should intentionally select two books that are greater than and two books that are less than the number you wrote down. This way your child has some time to practice “greater than” and “less than” or “before” and “after” if you’re working on letters.
- Break the call letters or numbers down to make it easier for your child. For example, if you’re looking for “CAU”, start with the “C”. Ask him to find “C”. Then ask him to find “CA”. Finally, find “CAU”.
- When you find the number or letters of the book you wrote down, have your child compare them with the number or letters on the index card.
- Your child then can redeem the cards for treasures. Just make sure to take all of your index cards out of the books if your child doesn’t find all of them.
- You can also pull a book off the shelf ahead of time and ask your child to put it back in the correct place by using the call number (letters).
You can apply your child’s new knowledge from this activity toward finding house or apartment numbers or alphabetizing names. And don't forget to get some books before you leave the library!