Homemade Bookends

In one of my grad classes, my professor told us about how she feels it is important to have a set of hardcover books or special books that are kept in a special place that kids are not able to reach.  I thought that it was a bit weird at the time, because I thought that it was important to have all books where kids can grab and explore them at any time.  However, after having kids, I agree with my professor.

Here are my reasons for wanting to keep a set of books away from the reach of my kids:

  • I am devastated every time I find a ripped or misplaced book cover.  Kids at my kids age, two and three, have a hard time truly treating hard cover books the way that they deserve to be treated
  • It adds a sense of mystery to the books.  It makes them more special and adds a sense of respect to them.
  • It helps kids to judge books.  It helps them to know some are worth more than others

With all this being said, I decided on a spot in my daughter room where the “special books can be stored where she won’t be able to reach them, but she will be able to see them.  I was going to put them on the top of her dresser.  The only thing that I needed was book-ends to help them stand up.  We got right to work….

I found several different book-ends that were more expensive than what I wanted to pay.  I also want my daughter to have a sense of ownership in what she has in her room.  So we headed over to Jo-Ann Fabrics.  I found these little wooden birdhouses that were one buck each!!

I bought two of them.  I knew that the birdhouses were not going to be heavy enough, so I found some small rocks that would fit in the hole of the birdhouse at the dollar store. Here is what we did…

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Making Books Available to Your Children

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I should probably be embarrassed by the mess in this picture, but I can’t because I love to see my baby READING!

I am just going to say it-I never liked school!  I think that some of my teachers would have a heart attack if they found out that I became an educator.  I was hardly ever interested in what I was learning, I didn’t like doing any work, and all I wanted to was talk to my friends or stare out the window all day.   This lack of interest in learning, really hindered me for a long time.  I want different for my children.  I want them to enjoy reading and learning.  Is this possible?  We shall see!

I truly believe that a lifelong learner, starts with a love of reading.  Reading feeds into every aspect of learning.  My strategy for encouraging a love for reading is to immerse, but not force, my kids with books.  We basically have a book bin in every room of our house.  At first, potty training consisted of me reading five books to my daughter before she realized that she didn’t have to go (Arg!).  We have books in the bathtub, car, kitchen, and of course the living/reading room.  This method has been very successful in our house.  Both my son (who is a year and a half) and my daughter (just turned 3) consistently “read” books on their own.  My son will point to just about everything on the page and whisper words in his own language that he has and my daughter will recite what she remembers hearing from the book.  I don’t think that I can ask for more than that!  All that I have really done is made books available to them and read to them when asked, which is daily.  I hardly ever ask them if they want to read a book.  We do read books every night for our bedtime routine.

I went to check on my daughter during her nap, and this is what I found.

I went to check on my daughter during her nap, and this is what I found.

If you are interested in trying this immersion method with your children, here are some words of wisdom (ha!)…

  • Store books in a way that is easy for the kids to reach and easy to clean up
    • Book bins are great because in a bind, you can just throw the books in them, instead of having to put them on a book shelf
  • It is ok to let them experience the books on their own
    • When you see your child pick up a book, you don’t have to run over and read it to them to encourage their reading.  Let them turn the pages, look at the pictures, and discover the book on their own.
    • You could even grab a book and model how you read!
  • Have comfy/cozy spots for you kids to take the books once they have picked one
    • We have kids-sized chairs and pillows around and I usually catch a kid snuggled up reading on them
  • Stock your home library with books that you will be ok with if they get ripped.  You never know what is going to happen with kids.  A nice reading moment can soon turn into a wrestling match with a sibling.  Books can get ripped, spilled on, who knows!
    • Check when your local libraries are having their used books sales.  My husband and I, stock up like CRAZY at those things!  The books are not always in the best of shape when you get them, but who cares.  At our library, on the last day of their sales, they will do a $5 a bag to try to get rid of more books-Crazy good deal!
    • Keep the special, awesome hard-cover books for special occasions or to read with you or until your child can handle a book respectfully
  • Load up each book section with a large selection of books
    • Go through your library and spread out “like” books
    • Spread out books by the same author, sound books, ABC books, etc.
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I had to hide to take this picture of my son reading. Love it!