Friday, February 15, 2013

How to Organize Your Child's Personal Library: Five Lessons from a Former Teacher Turned Mommy

My experience in the classroom has definitely influenced the way I designed Bug's playroom. It has been particularly helpful when it comes to choosing and organizing her books. Here are some of the lessons I learned in the classroom that I have applied to our home.

{Lesson 1} Books should be everywhere!

We have baskets of books in multiple rooms in our house. Although most of Bug's books are in her playroom, we also have books in other rooms of the house.

Playroom  We store miscellaneous books, seasonal books and audio books in the playroom. Seasonal books are books that are relevant to the time of year. Currently we have books about winter and Valentine's Day.

Playroom books:  author set (top) and misc books (bottom).

Seasonal books: currently winter and Valentine's Day.

Bathroom  Potty (training) books are stored in our main floor bathroom. If you've done any potty training then you know you sometimes have time to kill. We also have waterproof books for the bathtub in our upstairs bathroom.

Potty training books.
Bathtime books.

Bedroom We keep her nite nite books in a basket in her room. Her nite nite books have characters that are getting ready to go to bed and usually are asleep at the end.

Nite Nite books.

Office I stash a few books in my office to keep Bug entertained while I work. Currently we are practicing the names of all the colors.

Books about colors.

Family Room Library books are stored separately in the family room so we don't loose them.

Library books.

{Lesson 2} Offer a variety of books.

Expose your kids to all kinds of books and a variety of topics. For little ones who are teething board books are great but don't forget to expose them to paperback books too.

Fiction: Include character sets, author sets and theme sets (such as school, holidays, going to the doctor/dentist).

Books about the doctor's and dentist's office.

Author set: Sandra Boynton

Seasonal books: winter and Valentine's Day.

Nonfiction: For younger kids, include ABC books, counting books, simple picture books about animals or things in their world. For older kids, include books about science or social studies concepts, biographies, how-tos and even joke/riddle books.

Simple nonfiction books: animals, counting and first words.

Big Kid Nonfiction
Don't forget joke books!

Magazines: There are lots of options for kids of all ages (even babies!) that cover a wide range of interests.


Poetry: For little ones, include nursery rhymes and song books. For older kids include poetry with a variety of themes.

Song Books: Raffi Songs to Read.
Poetry books for big kids.

{Lesson 3} Face book covers out.

Children are more likely to grab a book if they can see the cover (as opposed to just the spine.)

Do: use a basket or bin. Don't: line up on a shelf.

See the difference? Which books are you more likely to grab?

{Lesson 4} Get your child his/her own library card.

Feel free to purchase a few favorites but then get a library card to fill in any "holes". This is especially helpful when kids get into a series or character. Currently, Bug is into Clifford the Big Red Dog. We have a couple of favorite paperbacks and visit the library to get the rest of the series.

Our Clifford books and the library's Clifford books.

{Lesson 5} Don't go broke buying books!

Places to purchase books besides Barnes and Noble and

Library: Most libraries have a "Friends of the Library" section where they sell donated books or books and magazines that are longer be in circulation. Generally, children's books cost $.25 to $1.00.

Notice the "withdrawn" stamp.

Craigslist: You might find a mom who is selling the books her kids have outgrown. You can also score big from individuals who are selling books from their former home day care.

Goodwill/Thrift Stores: It's amazing what some people will give away. I once saw a complete set of Magic Tree House books at thrift store.

Garage Sales: I've gotten books for as little as 25 cents.

TJ Maxx/Home Goods: Books are always priced less than retail.

Notice the price tag.

Target: Check out the dollar section at Target. It is a great way to score new books for airplane trips or long car rides.

Target $1 Dollar Section book.

Scholastic Book Orders: Brand new books are available for as low as $1.


I hope this helps you bring books into your child's life. Happy reading!

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