We all want our kids to love to read. How can we help this happen? By making reading a relaxing, enjoyable part of everyday life. To do that, you need to encourage your child to read at home. And it helps if she has a comfortable and inviting place to curl up with her books. Setting up a home library sends the message that reading is an important part of family life and isn't just for school or the library.
A home library doesn't take up much space — a corner of your child's room is perfect. You just need a bookcase, books, and some thought. Try these suggestions for creating a reading area that not only offers reading material but also invites your child to think about what she's read and to exercise her own imagination and creativity.
- Choose the right spot. Design an inviting space where books are kept and read. Put out soft pillows or a beanbag chair so your child can snuggle up with a favorite story. Make sure there's good lighting.
- Put books within reach. Use low, sturdy shelves so your child can safely select the books on her own. You'll need to show her how to put them away with the spine facing out!
- Repair rips. Use clear library tape to reinforce bindings and mend tears.
- Have regular rotations. Change the books on display so your child is encouraged to try new stories as well as cherished favorites.
- Respond to your child's interests. Offer books, magazines, and current catalogs about the topics your child is most fascinated with. Her teacher or the local librarian can help you find books about particular subjects.
- Swap books. Set up a book-lending system with other parents. Kids can share their favorite stories with friends-and discover new ones.
- Extend the experience. Encourage your child to retell and think about the stories by providing a flannel board and cutouts, character puppets, and art materials for making story-inspired creations.
- Make your own books. Keep markers, pencils, crayons, and paper nearby. Encourage your child to dictate, write, or draw her own books and design bookmarks. Adding her creations to your library will be a great source of pride!
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