When trying to find information on a library catalogue, using a search engine or in a book we all need to use KEY words. These are the words we type into a search box, look for in an index, scan a page or seek on a website. Key words help us to locate information we need to answer our questions.
In our library we have begun to make these KEYS very obvious. Our lower primary students are given laminated card keys to write their main key word AND four other words that may relate to their key word. Students who learn to use synonyms while searching for information become confident at locating relevant information. In using alternative words they quickly overcome problems if their original search word is not available. This is part of our Information Literacy strand in the IICS New Literacies.
Here is one student from grade 2 using her keys. Notice she has the main KEY word “Hummingbirds” and on her alternative word list is the word “bird”. She couldn’t find “hummingbirds” on the catalogue so she tried “birds”. The KEY was useful in finding a book on the catalogue, finding “Hummingbirds” in the index and then on the page….