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Huey and Louie Meet Dewey


Library Graphic

  • Arts & Humanities
  • Mathematics


3-5, 6-8

Brief Description

In this light lesson, students exercise their library shelving skills. A work sheet (provided) invites them to come to the aid of two rambunctious students who have made a mess in the school library.


Students will
  • become familiar with the Dewey decimal classification system,
  • use the system to organize a list of books.


Dewey, library, classification, classify, chart, category

Materials Needed

  • listing of the Dewey decimal classification system (available online or to print out)
  • Huey and Louie Meet Dewey work sheet
  • computers with Internet access (optional)

Lesson Plan

Do your students know where to find books in the library? In this activity, they will come to the aid of two youngsters who have gotten themselves into a heap of trouble in the school library!

Introduce this lesson by asking students how they find books in the library. Discuss what students already know about the Dewey decimal system. If Internet access is available, use the site Do We Know Dewey? to learn together about Melvil Dewey and his work. Explore the pages that review Dewey's system as appropriate for the students' grade level. If Internet access is not available for students, you may print and share some information from the site or use other print sources for your discussion of Dewey.

Distribute copies of the Dewey Decimal Classification System or a guide of your choice. Use examples of nonfiction books currently in the classroom, or other selections, to challenge students to identify the Dewey decimal system categories to which those books belong. Older students can name additional real or imaginary titles for the class to categorize.

Ask students why they believe it is important for libraries to be organized. What would happen if books were not shelved by the Dewey decimal system? What if students simply put books on the shelves as they were returned? Instruct the students to listen to the brief story that follows:

Today, a quick sprint from the circulation desk to the listening center -- the "booking it marathon" -- resulted in two boys and the contents of a rolling cart of brand-new books on the floor in one large heap! Ms. Daisy had had enough.

"You boys need to slow down! Your behavior is a menace in this library," said Ms. Daisy. "This time, you'll straighten up your own mess," she added in a voice that told the boys that she meant business. With a deep breath, Ms. Daisy rolled the cart beside the twins and told them to gather up the books and to come to her desk after they had picked up all of them.

Heads hanging low, Huey and Louie did as they were told. Soon they presented themselves with their cart of books, and Ms. Daisy presented them with a challenge.

"Boys, we don't simply put books anywhere in the library. The students couldn't find them if they weren't in order. You have mixed up the new books that need to be filed. Now you will fix them," the librarian stated. Huey and Louie exchanged curious glances.

"We use the Dewey decimal system to organize our books," said Ms. Daisy, handing a paper to Huey. "Huey, you read the title of the book and find its category. Louie, you put the books in order so that we can put them on the shelves. Above all, boys, put your feet in 'park.' No running is required in this job."

Ms. Daisy returned to her desk, and the boys stared hopelessly at the paper.

After reading that story, distribute copies of the Huey and Louie Meet Dewey work sheet, and read the instructions. Have students work independently or in pairs to complete the assignment.


Use the following answer key to correct students' work sheets.
Answer Key:

8 770 The Telly Foto Lens Handbook of Photography
5 480 It's All Greek to Me: The Classical Greek Language
2 150 The Magic of the Mind
4 370 Education for the Future
10 910 Tropical Heat Wave's Guide to Travel in the South Pacific
6 630 Farming for Fun
3 330 Bears or Bulls? What Is Next for the Nation's Economy?
7 690 Build the Better Skyscraper
1 070 What Every Journalist Should Know
9 780 How to Write a Bibliography

Lesson Plan Source

Education World

Submitted By

Cara Bafile

National Standards


MATHEMATICS: Connections

  • GRADES Pre-K - 12
    NM-CONN.PK-12.3 Recognize and Apply Mathematics in Contexts Outside of Mathematics
Return to this week's Lesson Planning article, Lessons from the Library.

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Originally published 4/12/2002
Last updated 06/02/2010