Posted on May 18, 2013
Creating a home library for your child says, “Reading is important.” A home library is one of the critical tools parents can use to grow their child academically. Here are 7 suggestions to help develop an encouraging, warm, and relaxing reading space…or two:
1. The right spot. Your home library doesn’t have to take up tons of square footage. Consider two low and sturdy bookshelves in the corner of a high traffic area of your home. If your child’s library is in their bedroom, but they spend most of the day downstairs, they are not as likely to read independently or reap the benefits of having a home library.
2. An inviting space. The area should be well-lit, soft, and cozy. This might be achieved with a high pile rug, large pillows, or a bean bag.
3. Size matters. Again and again, research reports that the size of a child’s home library has a substantial effect on educational achievement. 500 plus books is a great target. By shopping smart, a home library can grow quickly. Most libraries have a space where they sell donated books for .25 cents to a dollar. At yard sales, offer to buy the entire box for a negotiated cheaper price. Make it as much of a family tradition to receive books on birthdays and holiday as well as, or in lieu of, toys. Swap with other parents, cousins, and neighbors. Care for, and repair books by taping ripped pages and bindings.
4. Age appropriate books. Your child may be discouraged from playing in their home library if the book levels are too difficult for them. Consider the age of your child. If they are still in the destructive phase, place picture books on higher shelves to read with parent supervision. Double the amount of board books available. Conversely, if your child has outgrown board books, make sure they have some fresh “big kid” options. This is especially true for children’s Bibles, where concepts can be abstract. For younger children try a Bible with lift flaps or sliding tabs.
5. Child’s interests. Allow your child’s interests to play a role in your home library. There certainly are several kid classics that would be ideal for every child to own. Titles like, “The Little Engine that Could”, “Brown Bear, Brown Bear”, and “The Carrot Seed” come to mind. However, it’s also a strong tactic to include several books relating to your child’s hot topic of the month. This can be achieved at your local library. For example, if your child is really into “pirates” at the moment, go to the library and checkout as many pirate books as you can. You might choose the child’s favorite as one to buy used on eBay or Amazon as a permanent addition to their library.
6. Magazines. There is something magical about mail to a kid. Include a basket for storing magazines on your bookshelves. National Geographic publishes a photo rich children’s version that preschoolers love. Highlights and Parents’ magazine are also good choices. It’s more about the photos than the articles at the preschool age. Additionally, magazines can double as arts and craft material, or seek and find objects for cut-out scissor games.
7. Multiple locations. Putting books in your child’s reach and at their eye level might best be accomplished by having several mini-libraries thought out your home. It’s not a bad idea to have at least a basket of books in every high traffic area. You might separate them up by topic, or rotate them around to spark interest. Think about giving library books a “special spot” of honor in the home since they’ll only be there a short time!