Return to Hands home page
Hands Across the Sea is dedicated
to raising the literacy levels
of Eastern Caribbean children
Donate to Hands Across the Sea
Donate to Hands Across the Sea
Hands Across the Sea
is a top-rated nonprofit
Let's Stoke a Love of Reading in Caribbean Children!
Sending great new books is only the first step. Because good intentions alone are not enough to create or rejuvenate a sustainable, high-functioning lending library in a school. It takes a methodology for success—such as the Hands Across the Sea Library Manual for Primary Schools—and it takes a passion for literacy and buy-in from school staff, parents, and members of the community to create a lending library that will stoke literacy and a love of reading.

On this page you'll find tested-and-proven methods and materials from education professionals and U.S. Peace Corps Volunteers who have created sustainable lending libraries in Caribbean schools and communities. Hands Across the Sea's Caribbean Literacy and School Support (CLASS) program utilizes all of these successful strategies. Whether you're a school principal or teacher, a U.S. Peace Corps volunteer, or a parent or community member who wants to improve the reading skills of Caribbean children, you'll find useful resources here.

What's inside the Hands Across the Sea Library Manual for Primary Schools
  • Seven Steps to a Great School Library
    Seven Steps to a School Library
  • Step 1: Form Your Library Team
    #1: Form a Library Team
  • Step 2: Choose a Space for Your Library
    #2: Choose a Library Space
  • Step 3: Prepare Your Library Space
    #3: Prepare the Space
  • Step 4: Color-Code the Books
    #4: Color-Code the Books
  • Step 5: Create a Checkout System
    #5: Checkout System
  • Step 6: Organize the Library Operation
    #6: Operating the Library
  • Step 7: Prepare Students & Teachers
    #7: Prep Students & Teachers
  • Great School Libraries, Big & Small
    School Libraries, Big & Small
  • How to Make Your Library a Special Place
    Make It a Special Place
  • Create a Team of Student Librarians
    Cultivate Student Librarians
When Students Run the Library, the Love of Reading Grows
With a bit of training and plenty of encouragement and trust, primary school boys and girls from Grade 3 to Grade 6 can do just about everything to run the library, including keeping the room in order, checking books out and in, tidying the book collection, helping other students find the right book, managing behavior in the library, and promoting the library in the school and the community. The benefits to Student Librarians in this position of responsibility are clear: they gain self-esteem and the satisfaction of doing a good job, and their growing enthusiasm for books, reading and the library spreads to students across the school.

The Hands Across the Sea Student Librarian Handbook incorporates successful strategies for launching and running the Student Librarian program at your school. Our Interviews with Student Librarians video features 19 primary-school Student Librarians talking about the rewards and responsibilities of running a school library. In our video made especially for educators, How the Student Librarian Program Works, a school Principal and a U.S. Peace Corps Volunteer explain the impact and operational aspects of running a Student Librarian program at their school.

Whether you're a school principal, a teacher, a U.S. Peace Corps volunteer, or a student, you'll discover that Student Librarians are a wonderful addition to your school.

Student Librarian Training: Empower Your Students
How to train a team of Student Librarians to manage the operaton of your school library—checking books in and out, restocking and tidying the shelves, helping other students find the right book, and promoting a love of books and reading in your school and the community.
click to view or download (PowerPoint file)


Truly Awesome Book Reports
Here are three dozen cool templates to help students create book reports that showcase all that can be learned from a book: elements of storytelling, plot, character, vocabulary, illustration, and much more. Oh, yeah, and your students will have fun doing it! Compiled by Allegra Asplundh-Smith, Hands Across the Sea
click to view/download (PDF)

Truly Awesome Library Labels
Your students will know just where to find the book they want with these 17 labels for your library shelves — everything from Science to Superheroes to Fairy Tales and much more.
Compiled by Allegra Asplundh-Smith, Hands Across the Sea

click to view/download (PDF)
Poetry Workshop! Help Your Students Tell Their Story: Reading, Writing, Creating, Speaking
By Allegra Asplundh-Smith, Hands Across the Sea
click titles to view/download (PDF files)

Part One: First Steps to Raising Literacy Levels

Part Two: Anthology of Poetry

Part Three: Poems by Caribbean Children

Part Four: Sources and Credits