On a relaxed Wednesday afternoon, DCD pre-kindergarten students sat in a circle surrounded by rainbow walls of books in the early childhood section of the library. This space, designed especially for DCD’s pre-k and first grade students, features picture books, early readers, and developmentally appropriate nonfiction.

“What’s an animal you know that is slow?” asked Ms. Bass. A few students raised their hands to chime in with various answers: a ladybug, a sloth, two unicorns, an ant, and a snail. This opening brainstorm led to their book of the day— ALFIE by Thyra Heder, the story of a turtle who disappears! Students leaned in to listen as Ms. Bass read aloud. Partway through the story, the perspective switched from the young girl Nia, to that of Alfie the turtle. This was an important shift that Ms. Bass invited everyone to notice, encouraging the class to empathize with both Nia and the turtle’s experiences. One student noted their brother is seven years old just like Nia, drawing a personal connection to the story.

After the reading had finished, class ended with the book-care song to remind students how to treat their library materials.

“I treat my book so gently every day,
I treat my book so gently in every way,
I hold my book with two hands in my lap,
And always touch it gently,
Not with a slap.
I open the front cover and turn the page,
Slowly, carefully, from the corner of the page.”

Before they left, students found books that interested them individually and checked out their books with Ms. Bass. This opportunity to explore the DCD library lays the foundation for early literacy, and these young researchers continue to open up worlds of information through their library experience at DCD!