Building a Home Library
Last month, we looked at the traits that make up strong, life-long readers ("Teaching Reading with Purpose"). It should come as no surprise to you that reading often sits right at the top of the list. In the words of St. Augustine, “Take up and read!” It is important that children are reading, but it is also important that they have access to a wide variety of materials. Today we will be looking at a few ideas for building a home library that inspires children to become life-long readers!
Collect Great Books
Providing children with access to great books is a critical part of inspiring life-long readers. It is never too late to begin collecting great books for a home library. Sign-up to receive our summer reading catalog which contains great book titles for little ones all the way through 12th grade!
Building a large home library can be expensive, so take your time adding to your collection. Consider creating a shared book list for friends and family to purchase items from for birthdays and holidays. When you travel to new cities, make a stop at a local bookstore to let your child pick out a new book! As you build your library, be sure to let your children “grow” the collection with books by their favorite authors and topics that are particularly interesting to them. Keep a healthy mix of favorites next to new titles to try so that children will begin to expand their reading selections.
Take advantage of building your home library through library rentals! Set up a separate shelf in your home library for books you’ve checked out from the local library. If your library has a strict policy on how many books you can check out, ask about getting a teacher card, which often allows you access to up to 100 books at a time.
Fill your shelves with picture books, informational texts, poetry, and chapter books relating to the topics your children are studying and of course those that they are most interested in. As they begin reading to learn about topics they love, it is likely that their interest in reading about new topics will grow over time. Encourage your children to pick out their own books at the library and challenge them to pick out a variety of genres each time you visit.
Create a Cozy Reading Space
If you don’t already have a cozy reading nook somewhere in your home, find a corner or a small space to dedicate to reading. Try to find a spot with great light and easy access to books. Make it a rule that reading in this space is special and QUIET! Don’t allow children to take devices into this space while they are reading. Even emerging readers can learn to settle into this space to “read the pictures” and practice the art of quiet focus. Let your children “catch you” reading in the reading nook to set the example of how much fun reading can be!
Track Your Reading
Some children benefit from tracking their reading, while to others it is nothing but a tedious task. For those who do find it motivating, create a journal where the child can keep a record of all the books he or she has read! You can keep it organized by recording by genre or alphabetically, or simply keep a running list of completed book titles. For younger children, consider taking a more creative approach by visually stacking pieces of papers with the titles of the books they have read in a year.
Another important aspect of tracking reading is keeping a list of “books I want to read.” As your child hears of great books from friends or siblings, have the child record the title of the book! This list can help motivate a child to keep reading, especially when the recommendations have come from a peer or an older sibling.
Read Aloud Books
Even as your children grow older, continue to read aloud to them from time to time. There is something so soothing and memorable about sharing books aloud with a loved one. I asked our Kolbe staff team to share a few of their favorite read alouds, ones that they remember hearing read to them as children or ones they love reading aloud to their own children. Here are a few of their favorites:
Join us here monthly for our “Nurturing Lifelong Readers” series as we unpack strategies for nurturing these traits in our children so they becomelifelong readers!
Read the next article in the series here!