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Friday, January 30, 2009

Children's Home Library Start-Up - My Dilemma.

"Long before children are introduced to the public library, books should be a part of their home lives. Begin a home library as soon as the child is born." - Jim Trelease (The Read Aloud Handbook, 2001)

If you don't have a home library for you child, I strongly encourage you to start one. It doesn't have to be expensive. Want some awesome, inexpensive bookshelves? Craigslist is a great place to search. I think we paid $30 for a nice all-wood shelf for my son's room, but you can find shelves even cheaper than that on there. If you're lucky enough to have an IKEA near you, that's a great place to look too. Or make these shelves. I plan on putting some of these up once my son gets a little bigger and is able to explore books on his own a little more.

Need some books on the cheap? That's even easier than finding inexpensive bookshelves. Visit garage sales, thrift stores, consignment stores, consignment sales, and library book sales. I get amazing deals at these places all the time (Read about it here and here). But I would also encourage you to spend some money on new books when you can. There's a special feeling that comes with having your very own, brand-new, shiny book! You can always request these at birthdays and holidays too, if your family and friends are wanting gift ideas for your little one. (You can check out the Literacy Launchpad Store in the sidebar for some great book-buying!)

I have been working on my child's home library for years now, because as a literacy teacher, I'm always buying books! And as it turns out, this has created a bit of a dilemma for me. I don't know which books are his and which books are mine!

He does have a some books that are definitely his. And I let him chew on these, drool on these, and crumple the pages as he explores them. But there are many books that I consider mine, and I guess I'm just not a good sharer. I know he would enjoy many of my picture books as he gets older, and I want him to have the freedom to look at and explore them on his own. But I'm fearful of what may happen to my precious books!

So what do I do? Do I need to just let it go and share? Books are meant to be enjoyed, right? Hopefully, if I teach him how to properly care for books, he'll treat my books kindly.

... Or do I leave my books put up somewhere for special reading times only? What would you do?


Name: Holly Bowne said...

You brought back memories! I started reading to my daughter when she was one, and she used to chew on the corners and drool as I read to her. But eventually, she got older and stopped chewing and started listening (& understanding). She is 17 now and we share a great love of books together. She recently commented to me "Mom, I even love the 'smell' of books!"

So, I suggest, you have books that you share with little Isaac now, and do save some to enjoy with him when he's a bit older (& no longer drooling! Ha, ha, ha!)

BookChook said...

I'm not a good sharer, either! I especially don't like it when I lend a beloved book to friends and never see it again.

What I believe: I think babies and toddlers need to have access to their own books, just as Isaac does. I think they should be able to use those books as part of their lives, as toys, as bridges for cars, as a hat for the cat, okay, even as something to chomp on.

But for that special story time, I think it's fine to use books that are then put away in the special bookcase that is not for toys. We need to show kids we value books. Just like they need to learn it is okay to scribble on some paper but not on library books. I think the "specialness" of books is just as important a lesson as the fun of books.

Anonymous said...

I just want to take issue with the Trelease quote. It is really quite out-of-date.
Public libraries now offer newborn and infant programs. These programs are designed to offer parents a model for reading aloud to their babies. Many adults, educated or not, feel unsure of how to go about about reading to their very young children.
The American Library Association, Library Service to Children Division offers training to librarians with the Every Child Ready to Read @ Your Library program. Public libraries around the country offer this training to parents.
So I would submit to you that, along with building a home library, parents should start visiting their public library as soon as their child is born, not long after they begin building their home libraries.