Did you know that children having a home library is just as important as the parent’s own education level? That’s what a 20-year longitudinal study by a University of Nevada, Reno, found while studying families in the United States and China, with the astonishing fact that having around 500 books at home has a similar effect to having two college-educated parents1, with kids in both of these situations going at least 3 years more education-wise than compared to other factors in the study. It also shows the impact of having a home library, and so to get ready for those long summer days, holiday breaks, or road trips, I’ll give you some tips on how you can build your very own library at home for your children to enjoy!
Birthday/Special Occasion Gifts. This is great if you have parties because books are one thing that keeps on giving. Discussing this with your kids, you may ask gift givers to bestow gifts upon your family. The bonus with this is that they’ll remember who gave them the book, building a lasting memory and foundation for success to boot.
Ask around. People who have older or multiple children may have a few books lying around. Homeschooling families may have books they’d like to pass on. Doctors and dentists’ offices have some books and magazines they may want to part with. You might even find a retiring teacher who’s trying to lighten the load at the end of the year. All these are great places to get books.
School Fairs. Pick up a few books each time go round and cover them with clear contact paper if they’re paperbacks. Spending $5, $10, or more dollars each fair allows you to build or add to the collection of books you already have.
Host a Book Swap. Get a few families (or classrooms) together and bring some books you may already have at home. Have some book-friendly snacks (water, non-greasy or sticky snacks) and have kids look through the books or do a simple crafting activity to go along with the books
Mix and match. Hardbacks, paperbacks, newspapers, magazines, circulars, and e-books [think Big Universe and their FREE 30 days of books to start] are important tools to have in your library. Especially if you’re short on space, using a combination of print and electronic books will surely help you build that library in no time!
Write your own! Not only does this encourage kids to read more, they now become authors! I loved reading the stories children in my classroom came up with, whether it was zombies attacking the school or a favorite family member. In addition to reading the stories, students experience the entire writing process, from creating an idea to publishing and sharing their work. Seeing the world through their eyes still amazes me to this day. To kick it up a notch, have kids type it up (or write in their best writing), use colorful pictures or drawings, and bind it using a 3-prong folder or report cover. Scan the books and record their voices as they read it for an interactive e-book.
Hope these ideas help you build that library and change your kiddo’s life!