Library Lowdown

All About Research

Just Google it?

Research is something that our kids will have to do from now on. Elementary age students find it challenging to read articles from several different sources, and pick out the important information, if it isn't written on their level. I recently asked the kids where they would go if I told them to use a computer and find out where elephants lived, and overwhelmingly the answer was Google. There were also over 90 million hits. Then we did a little test to see which website came up first when we typed in random people and animals. 95% of the time Wikipedia was first.

Just say NO to Wikipedia

Have you seen how long most Wikipedia articles are? LONG, and not written for a 6-12 year old. So if you are an adult - go for it! But when your kids need help, use a database that is intended for their level. Also do you want to go through 90 millions hits to find an appropriate one for a child?

Just so you know anybody with a internet connection can write an article for Wikipedia. So that means they are not always correct. Below is a quote from the About section of

However the bottom line Wikipedia is not written for children!!!

"Users should be aware that not all articles are of encyclopedic quality from the start: they may contain false or debatable information"

What we have to offer

Did you know that in the state of Texas we have access to several databases that our tax dollars pay for? LISD even had some librarians go to Austin during the last legislative session to talk about how important they are for our kids to have!

First we have full access to World Book Encyclopedia and Britannica. If your kids ever say that Ms. Hoffman gave them a set of encyclopedias- well I sort of did!

We also have the Gale Database. Gale presents current, age-appropriate and relevant information. Their digital curriculum supports today's students with "anywhere access" to references designed to support state standards and foster critical thinking.

Within Gale we have full access to National Geographic for Kids. This includes the magazines, pictures, videos and books that National Geographic for Kids has published. Check it out- I promise you won't be disappointed!

The next database I encourage students to use is called Kids Infobits. This pulls books, pictures, magazine articles and current events from 100's of different age appropriate resources. Included are magazines like Ranger Rick, Scholastic Weekly News, Highlights, and U.S. Kids. Next to every article you will find either a green dot, yellow triangle or red square, indicating the reading level. Green is the easiest, yellow is the middle and red is the hardest. It is such a wonderful resource for our kids to use.

The last resource I want to tell you about is called Pebble Go. We pay for this as a school and it is worth every penny. Just head on over to and check it out. There are 5 databases built into this aimed at emergent readers (perfect for our K-2 students). The databases they have are on Animals, Science, Biographies, Social Studies and Dinosaurs. Simply log in with our username and password and start learning!

Username: Donaldlisd

Passwood: books

Let's Go.......

Now that you know all about these, let's find them:

Pebble go is a stand alone resource so just log on using the information above.

The others you must log in through our LISD portal. Go to

resources>for students>bookmarks for research elementary (at this point it should ask your student to log in with their lisd username and password.

So now how do you feel about starting at Google.

(little disclaimer - I LOVE Google but not for students when doing research)

Happy Researching!