Building A Child's Home Library

By Dr. Raymond J. Huntington

You may have heard the statistic before that owning many books is strongly correlated with higher test scores. If that's not reason enough to build a home library, here are a few more:
  • Your child will always have access to reading material that he or she enjoys.
  • Your child may get excited about having books of his or her own.
  • Collecting books can become a source of pride (for favorite books read) and excitement (for books to be read). 
  • Your child will get the sense that reading is important to your family.
  • Never again will your child be able to say that he or she has nothing to read.

So, how do you go about creating a collection of books for your child to choose from when reading? Here are a few tips:

Go for quality. Some books possess certain attributes that make them appealing to teachers, children and parents alike. These books are not only well written, they might share important messages or themes, and even change readers' perceptions of various events or topics. Try incorporating a few such books into your child's home library. The American Library Association Children's Book Council periodically releases a list of high-quality books (by age) that your child might want to try:

Pique the interests. What are some of your child's favorite activities, sports or other extracurricular activities? Search for books on these topics, or talk with your local librarian or bookseller for suggestions. If you're unsure, talk with your child. Instead of asking what kinds of books he or she likes, talk about current events, past events, people, subjects or other topics, and take note of what intrigues your child. The Children's Book Council search tool will help you look for books by age, format and genre.

Incorporate recommended titles. Seek out recommendations from your child's peers. Each year, the International Literacy Association and the Children's Book Council survey tens of thousands of readers in the U.S. to assemble a list of favorites. Sit down with your child to peruse this list together: For teens, Literacy Worldwide's annual Young Adults' Choices list compiles popular reader-selected books. Perhaps some of these titles will grab your child's interest:

Give a book allowance. Get your child involved in selecting the contents of his or her home library by establishing a reward system in which your child can earn new reading material. Establish weekly or monthly goals so that as your child finishes books, he or she can pick out new ones during a special monthly outing to the bookstore. Setting up reading as a privilege instead of a have-to will make it seem exciting and fun.

If your child seems more intimidated by reading than excited about it, there may be a reason. Explore the issue with Huntington—we can help uncover the root of the problem and uncover skill gaps that might be holding your child back. Call us at 1-800-CAN LEARN to talk about how we can help your child become a better reader and student.


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