Learning About Copyright Dates

Learning About Copyright Dates

When I was teaching 1st grade, our librarian gave us a fantastic tip for learning about copyright dates. In a nutshell, she compared bellybuttons to copyright years – we get a bellybutton on the day we are born, just as a book “gets a bellybutton” for the year it is “born,” or published. The copyright symbol, looks a little like a bellybutton circle, and is SO MUCH FUN to have kids search for in books!

Learning About Copyright Dates

Here’s what you’ll need: 6-8 picture books, post-it notes and a marker.

Learning About Copyright Dates

Have your learner identify the copyright date of the book, by finding it’s “bellybutton” on the copyright page, usually before the title page. Write that year on a post it note, and place the post-it note on the cover of the book. Do this with 6-8 books.

Learning About Copyright Dates

Next, line the books up from “newest to oldest,” or “oldest to newest.” It’s a great way to practice reading large numbers, and putting them in chronological order, as well as learning about copyright dates of books.

This is especially fun to do when doing an author study. Try doing it with Dr. Seuss books in March for Dr. Seuss’ birthday. It’s really interesting to see which books authors wrote first, and which ones they wrote later in their career.

Authors to try this with:

  • David Shannon
  • Laura Numeroff
  • Kevin Henkes
  • James Marshall
  • Marc Brown
  • Mo Williams

Learning About Copyright Dates

My kids LOVE searching for “bellybuttons” before reading a new book, and always get excited when they find a really old book, or one that was “born” in the same year that they were!

Written by Anne

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