About ESIP     Books & Beyond     Classroom Connections  
Site Map

Book Browsing

With the abundance of books available to young readers, it is often difficult for them to select books that best meet their needs, whether that need is to find a book to answer content related questions, fulfill classroom requirements, or be read for pleasure. When students browse for books it is certain that they do give thought to the process. What is less certain is whether they recognize the process they engage in and whether they know how such things as peer recommendations, book discussions, and the book's physical attributes contribute to and affect their book selection decisions. In providing students with strategies for book browsing and giving them the opportunity to do so, teachers not only help students to understand themselves as readers, they also arm students with the tools to make more informed reading selections.

Strategies for Book Browsing

Helping students to become aware of how they make their book selections and introducing them to some strategies for browsing books can help to support their selection process. Think about your own selection process. Bring in a few books that you have selected to read as well as a few that you opted not to read. Talk about and model what you did when you were book browsing. Share your reasons for choosing one book but putting aside another. A few things to think about:

Once you have introduced students to your own book browsing process, you might want to focus on individual pieces of your process, perhaps by doing mini-lessons where warranted. Match book browsing strategies to purpose. If, for example, students are book browsing to find resources most useful for a specific topic or research need, begin with a mini-lesson about indices or the table of contents.

Here are a few more strategies for book browsing.

Benefits of Book Browsing

Modeling and sharing book browsing strategies reaps many benefits, particularly when students are regularly given the opportunity to browse and select their own books. The following are just a few of those benefits.

For more on student self-selection strategies, go to

All materials featured on this site are the property of the Elementary Science Integration Projects (ESIP) and/or their respective authors, and may not be reproduced or distributed in any form, printed or electronic, without express written permission.

This material is based upon work supported by the National Science Foundation under Grant No. 9912078. Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation.