God chose the written word as his way to reveal how the world works to us, and so it’s also an important way we teach our children! For me, already convinced of reading’s benefits, it still took a bit of discipline on my part to incorporate it into our daily routine. Now it’s the first thing we do after the breakfast cleanup.
The good news is that good reading material is not hard to come by. Most of our books were either given to us or bought from Goodwill. I have a few things (our Bible stories, for example) that I’m more picky about, but for the most part, reading is about forming a relationship with your child, spending some good ol’ quality time with them, and using books as a tool to explore the world. Just deciding to read regularly is a noble first step.
But then come other questions… How do I organize all these books? After all, my child’s reading needs change from year to year, so I’m going to end up with a lot of books. And yet, I’m still going to want to keep the good ones around for my next child. But what if I have so many books I can’t find the ones I’m actually looking for? Call me irrational, but I have a real fear of losing a good book behind piles and piles of never-read ones and then not finding it again until my child has already outgrown it.
So here’s how we do it… First off, I only keep age-appropriate books out in our living space so it’s easy to see what we have to choose from. The other books are boxed away and I’ll pick through them when I get his next-size-up clothes.
I want to set up an official bookshelf for his books one of these days, but due to a lack of space, we’ve had to make-do with three baskets. I’ve sorted them into three genres and let him pick one book from each to read that day. My three baskets are:
1) Just For-Fun Books (a lot of Dr. Seuss, Truck & Car Books, Knight and Dragon stories, etc.) (basket pictured above)
2) Bible Stories (My favorite are the Arch Book series! They’re true to the Bible and written in rhyming verse so they’re fun to read.)
3) and Learning Books (Books on Shapes, Colors, Letters, Counting, etc.) Sometimes I try to match it with what we’re learning in ‘school’ that day, but more on that next time.
And yes, I know that all three categories are fun AND involve learning, but my creativity is lacking in the naming department apparently. Better naming suggestions are welcome.
I routinely go through my books and toss/give away the ones I find annoying or useless. I think life is too short to waste on boring books. Also, if a book is good but I really CAN’T STAND to read it again for the gazillionth time, I’ll admit to hiding it for a period of time before bringing it out again.
Another thing Gabriel and I like to read through are our family books (any photo album will do). I’ve been putting together family yearbooks since my husband and I got married and Gabriel loves to look through them with me. I think it helps him understand more complex things (like Mommy and Daddy having a life even before he showed up) and that babies take a long time to grow, but eventually turn into little people (like he has and like his brother eventually will).
Speaking of babies… Here’s the newest book I found at Goodwill the other day. I think he will especially enjoy it when I’m pregnant again sometime in the future, so I’ll be keeping it around. He’s enjoyed it so much I think I’m going to look up other books in the series.
What about you? What’s your toddler’s favorite books? Do you have a reading routine? And what’s your way of organizing them all?