Whittier, CA – Wearing comfortable shoes and clutching book bags, more than 50 Rancho Santa Gertrudes Elementary School second-graders trekked to the Santa Fe Springs City Library on Nov. 17 for an exclusive audience with the children’s librarian, part of a monthly program designed to acquaint students with the building blocks of literature and encourage them to read.

Overseen by their teachers and parents who act as volunteer crossing guards, Rancho Santa Gertrudes first- through third-graders are engaging in a hands-on yearlong exploration of how books and literature shape their lives, immersing themselves in the various literary tools used to tell a story.

The Santa Fe Springs library opens its doors exclusively to Los Nietos students three mornings a month to accommodate the different grade levels.

“This is a great way for students to build relationships with the school and the library,” Rancho Santa Gertrudes Principal Octavio Perez said. “We are able to promote literacy and connect a monthly theme with our standards-based language arts programs. Thank you to the Santa Fe Springs library for welcoming our students.”

Each grade level studies a different aspect of monthly subject themes introduced in their classrooms. In October, the theme was “Life Science” and second-graders learned about plants and animals in their habitats, then borrowed a book they would read and discuss in class.

For November, the theme switched to “Point of View,” with an emphasis on fables, folklore and how the story changes based on different character perspectives. When students arrive at the library, children’s librarian Shannon Dailey greets them with a story and books to borrow when they leave.

“I’ve heard that you are having a hard time understanding how the point of view changes with each new character,” Dailey told the students. “But people can witness the same event and have different recollections. There is always more than one way to tell a story.”

Dailey used the fairy tale “Three Little Pigs” as an example. As the students indicated they all knew the story, Dailey read to them “The True Story of the Three Little Pigs,” told from the perspective of the

Alexander T. Wolf, who, in his telling, claimed he was misunderstood and merely had a bad cold.
Dailey then asked the students which point of view they believed. Half the students chose the pigs; the other half the wolf.

After the discussion, the students looked over other books of folklore, each choosing one to take back to school along with a “fun” fantasy or superhero book. After making their selections, the students used their library cards to check out the books and walked back to campus.

Second-grader Xavier Perez-Moreno chose the book “Anansi the Spider: A Tale From the Ashanti” by Gerald McDermott, enticed by the vivid illustrations that make the story of the resourceful folk hero come to life.

“I like the way the pictures help tell the story,” Perez-Moreno said.

Over 10 months, the students will study government and citizenship, character, life science, point of view, technology and society, theme, history and culture, earth science, economics, and physical science.

“This is a comprehensive and inventive literacy skills program that is popular with the students,” LNSD Superintendent Jonathan Vasquez said. “Reading is the gateway to knowledge and our partnership with Santa Fe Springs City Library is helping open doors for our students to expand their imaginations.”


11.29.16_RANCHO_LIBRARY1: A Rancho Santa Gertrudes second-grader checks out library books at the Santa Fe Springs City Library on Nov. 17. Rancho first- through third-graders make monthly trips to the library as part of a yearlong program designed to acquaint them with the building blocks of literature and to encourage them to read.

11.29.16_RANCHO_LIBRARY2: Santa Fe Springs children’s librarian Shannon Dailey talks to Rancho Santa Gertrudes Elementary second-graders on Nov. 17 about how “point of view” is used in literature. The library opens its doors three mornings a month to assist students in learning the different concepts that are used to tell a story.

11.29.16_RANCHO_LIBRARY3: A Rancho Santa Gertrudes second-grader helps a classmate decide on a book of folklore to borrow on Nov. 17 as part of the school’s yearlong library program to bolster literacy skills.