Making Time to Read (Teaching Your Toddler Part 3 of 4)

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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.

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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.)

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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.

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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).

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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.

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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?

6 thoughts on “Making Time to Read (Teaching Your Toddler Part 3 of 4)

  1. cassandraperu says:

    So neat! I need to be more organized with our reading time. And I have always admired your yearly photo books you do! I would love to do that. Thanks for all the inspiration and ideas, Kelsey!!

  2. Tricia Regar says:

    I’d be very interested to hear your thoughts on toddler TRAINING… how do you train your kids to sit still, for example? Also, because of your frugal living, how do you DRESS your kids? Or yourself, for that matter? I think both of those subjects are highly interesting. 😉
    Here’s my kids’ “fashion” blog–it’s more of a way to document by dressing my kids, almost exclusively second-hand… lilpeoplefashion.blogspot.com

    • Yes, I was already thinking of doing a post about how I ‘train’ my toddler to participate in church. (I say participate and not sit still for a reason) 🙂 Boys don’t do that very naturally, so it becomes more about channeling their energy in the right places instead of squashing it. But I’ll do a post about it sometime. As far as dressing everyone, pretty much everything we wear is second-hand. If it’s not given to us, it’s from goodwill or a yard sale. I should also do a post about that, because I rarely have clothing needs that go unmet and I rarely spending anything on it. Also, I’m not sure if you’ve read my laundry post yet, but we don’t have very many clothes (on purpose). I think we each have 6-8 shirts and the same number of pants and that works for us very well. Thanks for giving me some ideas to work with! I’ll be checking out your blog for sure!

  3. Alicia says:

    In my multilingual house (spanish cause I am from Colombia, Rumanian because of my husband and english because, well, we live here in USA :)…the best option was to put the books in baskets according to their language…this way she will pick up our mother languages faster and easier. She now knows where to pick her favs! I also have a small book shelf just for her night night stories, and another one for her bible and prayers…it is so much easy now and this way she learns that life is easier when organized, right ? bedtime is finally a well established routine that we both enjoy, and books and prayers are always included.

    • Oh, wow! What a gift to be raised around so many languages! Both my parents were fluent in spanish (my Mom is Puerto Rican and my Dad’s parents were missionaries to Bolivia during his growing-up years), but I never graduated beyond basic conversational skills. It’s such a great opportunity to be fluent in all three, so be sure to teach her well! 🙂

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