K-5 Literacy

The Dewey Decimal States of America

I have a class from a local Montessori school that visits me once a month at the library for outreach programs. We have toured our main library, worked on digital literacy skills, and today, we learned the basics of researching The United States.

What We Learned

I started our lesson by reviewing how to choose up-to-date materials, primary vs. secondary sources, and making sure your websites are credible. After that, we got interactive!

I made this super cool flannel map of the United States.


How did I Make It?

  1. I covered a 3 ft by 2.5 ft piece of cardboard in white butcher paper.
  2. I printed a plain outline of the United States. It took several sheets of paper and I cut them to what I needed and taped them using packing tape to the board.
  3. I expanded the size of parts of New england so they would be visible.
  4. I printed another map and used it as a template to cut out each state in colored paper.
  5. I laminated all the states.
  6. I put one side of the velcro to each state outline on the map and the other side of the velcro to the back of each state.
  7. Finally, using a label maker, I put each state’s Dewey decimal number on the back:

Finding Books by State with Dewey

For the activity, each student pulled a state off the map and went to search for books using the Dewey number.

They then went back to their tables with stacks of books and were tasked with deciding which book was the best for their research. They considered things like publication date and reading level.

This program was wildly successful. The students ended up searching for multiple states because it felt like a scavenger hunt. It was awesome to see them hunting for books and digging through the publication data!


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