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Help with 7th Grade class

Reading | Literature 


New Member
I am new teaching in the Library this year and I am running out of ideas.
I have 7th grade each morning for 45 minutes. I have one of the classes twice a week.
I teach in a inner city public school and these students are not interested. It is difficult to even get their attention to listen to me.
I started the year with read alouds with Edgar Allan Poe, The Dangerous Game, The Lottery, etc. I needed something that would grab their attention. While some where interested many didn't get it until I showed them a movie or explained after each paragraph. I then went into the dewey decimal system and online research. Many of them don't check out books and are not into reading. Does any one have any suggestions of what to do with this class?


Senior Member
Do you have a curriculum to follow?

Our 7th graders don't get library time but if you require some type of assignment involving research and computers, maybe they will show some interest. Good luck!


Senior Member
nette25 has a good suggestion and gave me a possible idea. How about a scavenger hunt in the stacks that focuses on books they might be interested in? Even my less than enthusiastic readers loved the Guinness-type books about weird and crazy people, etc. Cryptids, amazing facts, world records, dangerous/scary/disgusting things, WWII, celebrities, and so on. Creepy books. Maybe mechanical or technical books with lots of pictures. Fashion, cooking or decorating. Maybe medical. Issues like alcoholism, abuse, drugs, relationships. Whatever your most interesting non-fiction books are.

Perhaps the scavenger could say find a title with the Dewey # 130 -- don't say it is the supernatural/ghosts section; let them discover that. They write in a title with the specific Dewey number for that book, then re-shelve it.

Here is a good site

You could divide the scavenger into six sections, for example, and have 12 teams. Two teams start with section 1, two teams with section 2, etc. so they are not all in the same section at the same time. Ring a bell when time is up and it is time to move on to the next section on their scavenger. Section 1 moves to 2, 2 to 3, 3 to 4 and so on. Section 6 moves to Section 1.

Perhaps tell them to star * a title they would like to look at. Maybe the next time they are in the library, hand back their scavenger and give them free reading time to get a book they liked off the shelf and read for 30 minutes. Then maybe the last 15 minutes volunteers could share one fact they found interesting. (I say volunteers so kids who might have picked up a book they wouldn't want to share won't be embarrassed.)

The other kids could then write down titles they would like to look at for next time.

Perhaps you could also do a book pass. I read about this on PT.

Gather 2-3 books for each student and have them at each place where they usually sit for library. The collection should not only have an appealing cover, but a wide variety of fiction genres. Guy books, girl books, horror, fantasy, adventure, sports, mystery, science fiction, romance, and funny. Include popular titles that are checked out often or you see students reading. Have a range of levels, but nothing too easy or too hard for the majority of your students.

Again, they need a piece of paper for writing possible books they might like to read. Demonstrate how they look at the cover, the inside cover, the back cover and read the first few pages. Tell them they will only have 3-4 minutes (or whatever you decide). When time is up, they have to pass to the left. I imagine you have several tables, so when everyone has looked at all the books for one table, you have a distributor pass the stack to another table and get their stack--work out how the exchange will go. Maybe you will only have time for them to look at the ones for their table.

This might interest them in some books to check out or put their name on a post-it in to pick up and read the next time they come to library.


New Member
Thanks for these ideas. I did do a dewey decimal scavenger hunt just to make sure they learned how to use the dewey decimal system but I like the idea of having them look for books that might interest them.
I have had them write down books they might like to read. Unfortunately, there isn't any money in the budget and I am having problems with students returning books so it has been a challenge to convince the principal to order anything. The books the students are interested in I don't have.


Senior Member
Thanks for the reply and glad there was an idea for you. Too bad you don't have any books at all in your library that you could gather that you think they might like :(


Senior Member
Here's an idea...

What about having them compile a "Wish List" Catalogue? They can come up with books they would like in the library, find out how much they cost, the reading level, and have to have a persuasive paragraph on why the book should be on the shelves. It could be known to the parents that you have this binder and they can donate slightly used books from home or maybe would be willing to buy a book or two. Plus if the students help obtain the books they might help to keep them on the shelves and in good condition. They could then help you come up with the correct call numbers and sections where these books will be shelved if acquired.


Senior Member
Librarian here

There are so many great resources out there for just this type of thing. It sounds like you would benefit from reaching out to the librarian community. I know you are looking for ideas to help you in the moment but these resources may sustain you throughout your library adventure.

Join LM-NET, a listserve that's been in business for around 20 years and is packed with discussions from librarians around the world.
http://lmnet.wordpress.com/ I get a lot of great ideas from LM NET's wiki.

Visit TLNing. It doesn't get a ton of traffic but it does have some valuable stuff: http://teacherlibrarian.ning.com/

Use Twitter to follow the #TLCHAT hashtag; you can also pick up its stream on TL Ning.

http://elementarylibraryroutines.wikispaces.com/ has a lot of great ideas.

Follow the blogs of the movers and shakers; you might really like Gwyneth Jones a/k/a The Daring Librarian or Tiff Whitehead's The Mighty Little Librarian. Just google 'em; they'll turn up.