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Preparing a “Pathfinder”

Paulette Stewart

Preparing a “Pathfinder” is one way of providing students with the needed practice that they require to help them master information literacy skills. A pathfinder is a guide that is designed to lead information seekers to find suitable information about general or specific topics.

After the basic information skills have been taught, the teacher librarian can give the following practical exercise which is creating a pathfinder on a specific topic.

  • Assign a topic that is curriculum related to each student of the class. For example, tsunami, the solar system, the human heart.
  • Instruct students to use their school library as well as the public library to find 10 sources that contain that particular information. A variety of sources should be stipulated. For example, journals, electronic sources, books, and newspapers. The information should be suitable for the grade level of the students.
  1. Students are to write an introduction to the topic with a list of reference at the end.
  2. List the sources and their call number where possible.
  3. Write out the bibliographic details for these sources.
  4. Evaluate the:
    1. Coverage of the information
    2. Usefulness of the information
    3. Readability
    4. Use of illustrations if any.
  5. Write an account of the search process.
  6. Evaluate the search process.
  7. Evaluate the product.

It is very important that the teacher librarian assist the students with the task definition for this assignment.

We need to remember that “In order to build independent learning skills, educators must offer a series of experiences in which students develop and use those skills to learn important content” (Stripling, and Hughes-Hassell, p. xviii).


Stripling, Barbara K., Hughes-Hassell, Elizabeth. Curriculum Connection Through the

Library. London: Greenwood Publishing Company, (2003).

January 14, 2007 Posted by | 4. Issue 43, 5. Theme 43: Information Literacy, Jamaica | Leave a comment