Home is where our heart is! Then why should you have to go too far to fetch reading books for your kiddos? If you’ve always been a book nerd in your school days and wished the same habit for your children, then having a small corner dedicated to all kinds of books in your home, could be a good start!
The benefits of reading are manifold and being raised in a home with a ‘mini library’ can impact the child’s life in a positive manner. Imagine how excited your kids would be to have access to 50-100 different types of picture books, tales, biographies, and classics, in their home bookshelf. Just seeing the array of choicest books, makes them excited to go and pick one up & read it.
We bet your child will want to put aside their iPads and give reading a try, getting enticed by the fully stocked home library in the periphery vision of their eye. So, let’s raise a generation of readers, though it may sound like a tough task in this age of digitalization! One book at a time!
Here are some ways to build a great DIY home library.
Choose the Right Spot
A space that is poorly lit and has no source of natural light, is ideally not a good spot to host a library. Make sure the location you select is convenient and accessible to your child. Avoid any sort of clutter and move objects & furniture away from the library space. Also, have a small seating area, like a beanbag or a foldable chair around the reading corner, so that your kids can comfortably sit and read, be it for a few minutes, or even hours together.
Place Books Within Reach
Place books within reach, on the bottom-most and middle sections, and avoid displaying them on the topmost shelf. Your preschooler should not be taxed. Standing on toes, stretching arms, and having to pray that the book doesn’t fall down, is more like a Fear Factor task and is really demotivating. Going through rigorous rituals every time he feels like reading a book, won’t work.
Organize the Bookshelf
Start by categorizing books as per their genre; fiction, non-fiction, rhymes, and general knowledge books, etc. Place books of the same category in one section and use a divider to break the pile. Label each section of the bookshelf, so that children learn to read words & associate the book with its correct category. Vertically stacking books, the old-fashioned way is useful. Always display the book on the side which has the title & author mentioned, for easy recognition.
Having a good collection of books is great, however, displaying them all on the rack is impossible. Make it a monthly exercise to rotate books that are on the shelf and place new titles on display, while the other books can be stored in the attic. Children usually tend to re-read their favorite book and miss the opportunity to try picking up other books. Therefore, patiently Introduce your child to new & more exciting book covers, and motivate them to read a variety of genres, instead of sticking to one. To learn about the latest age-appropriate reading books in the market, reference the Reading Eggs app, which allows parents to browse through over 3000 titles. This app is pretty popular in Dubai and across the Middle East and those who have been using this platform have good things to say.
Around the reading corner have some stationary handy; markers, crayons, origami paper, etc. Encourage your little one to re-tell the tale and use props to make it more interesting & creative. Children have a vivid imagination, and you will be surprised at the enthusiasm they display in presenting the story. You can also follow up the story with an activity from the Reading Eggs app – which is available for download seamlessly across the UAE and in other GCC countries.
Now that you know how to set up a library at home, it’s time to have a fixed routine for ‘story time’ each day. Maybe 15 minutes before bedtime and 30 minutes after your child returns from school, makes for a good practice.