School Extra by Bob Zimmerman

Information on Maple Lake Elementary school’s website describes the Media Center as “an exciting student center, full of activity. Students and staff have access to many wonderful resources for reading, writing, researching, discovering, and learning.” Mrs. Kath Heffron is the Library Supervisor for the center and in order to complete her job responsibilities she wears almost as many hats as the Bartholomew Cubbins I read about in my younger years. Here is some of the information she shared with me about the center and herself.

Each grade school classroom has a library time slot at least once each week and there is also time for High School Special Ed students to find and use books suited to their abilities. Mrs. Heffron reads to kindergarteners and first graders when they come in, and teaches second through fifth grade students how to use Destiny Quest, the center’s online cataloging system. Students learn how to independently find the call number for a book, get information about it, and find out if it is available to be checked out. How can a youngster figure out if a book will be a good fit for them? It turns out there is a method for that called the “Five Finger Rule. Choose a book and read the first page or two and put one finger up for each word you don’t know. Zero or one finger means the book is too easy, four or five means picking a different book is probably a good idea, and two or three raised fingers means the book is “just right”.

There are lots of tables and chairs available, and students can also ask Mrs. Heffron for seating at the Reading Stables in one corner of the center or over in the Dog House. Two kids at a time get to use the slightly exotic locations while enjoying a good book. Kindergartner through third grader students get to go to the Cabin once a week to hear Storybook Readers read to them. Community volunteers share their time and talent with the youngsters and often show up in costumes provided by the Costume Shoppe, which explains that stylish Leprechaun I bumped into in the school hallway a couple of days after St. Patrick’s day.

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