I know I wasn’t required to do research in Kindergarten. Why is my child now doing it?
Yes, believe it or not research is now a part of the Kindergarten learning experience. The librarian in me says, “Yes!” That’s because Kindergartners really can do research! Of course, it looks a lot different than what we did in college with footnotes and such, but it’s still a form of research. Now before you moan and grown remembering all those notecards you had to write and secondary sources you had to dig up, think about it. Research really is a perfect fit for a Kindergartener. Kindergartners are some of the most curious people I know. And what do you do when you’re curious? You ask questions!! (and hopefully find out the answers to them)
In the Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills (TEKS), also known as the Texas state curriculum, it states, “students are expected to know how to locate a range of relevant sources and evaluate, synthesize, and present ideas and information.” Also, Language Arts TEKs 19 and 20 specifically mention the subject of research.
(19) Research/Research Plan. Students ask open-ended research questions and develop a plan for answering them. Students (with adult assistance) are expected to:
(A) ask questions about topics of class-wide interest; and
(B) decide what sources or people in the classroom, school, library, or home can answer these questions.
(20) Research/Gathering Sources. Students determine, locate, and explore the full range of relevant sources addressing a research question and systematically record the information they gather. Students (with adult assistance) are expected to:
(A) gather evidence from provided text sources; and
(B) use pictures in conjunction with writing when documenting research.
Now, I hope you noticed what the Texas Education Agency put in parentheses, with adult assistance. Of course a Kindergartner is not expected to be able to do all of this research on their own. Teachers and the librarian are expected to introduce good research skills, the steps to making a research plan, how to gather accurate and appropriate sources and how to then take all this information and make sense of it.
As a librarian, I would introduce my Kindergarteners to the Super Three, simplified steps to research, using Planasaurus, Dosaurus and Reviewasaurus. We’d also sing this song to the tune of BINGO. The kids loved it and when it was time to do their research projects on an animal, they had a least a basic understanding of research and the proper way to do it.
So if your child comes home with a research assignment or is just plain curious about something in their world, remember to embrace it and encourage it! Go to your library, grab some print and electronic resources and have fun!