As children begin to learn to use the resources in school libraries, one of the tools they need to be taught is how to use an index. I presented a brief talk to children in the third grade at the Bernice A. Ray School in Hanover, New Hampshire. Children are such quick studies that they caught onto the ideas right away.
To peak their interest, I talked about chocolate. I suggested that they think about a cookbook index. If they wanted to find something delicious to cook (or to beg their parents to cook), how would they do it? Where would they find what they wanted?
“Brownies!” one shouted. Exactly. Look in the index under “Brownies.” Where else could you find brownie recipes? Under “Cookies” perhaps? Under “Desserts,” another child suggested. Under “Chocolate” obviously. And on it went.
Then of course the conversation veered off into what all their favorite desserts included, after which we had to call it a day and get them back to their classroom schedule.
Peaking their interest in how useful indexes can be and offering them the knowledge of how to find so much information that is hidden away in books was a joy. Perhaps librarians or classroom teachers could include an introduction to indexes in their curriculum on a regular basis.
Here’s to creating smart readers who have the tools to get where they need to be.