Monday, February 11, 2013

How to Build a Home Library

The research is unanimous - children should be read to and read to often. And there are a multitude of toddler and preschool-aged books from which to choose.  The sad truth is that you can't trust the fact that a book is published that it is a good one!  (If you don't believe me, visit your local library!)

I think it is mucho importante to build a library of quality books in your home.  Books that you read over and over again while introducing your child to classic characters and authors.

To help you get started, I have created lists by age of the top children's books according to ABCJLM users and our family.  Many of these books are also on popular Top-100-Books-to-Read-to-Your-Child-Before-Kindergarten lists found on the internet.

Each of the ABCJLM Preschool Curriculum include a "Book of the Week."  Activities are provided in each Lesson Plan to further the literacy learning.  Be sure to check out the ABCJLM Reading suggestions for other titles and authors as well as ideas on how to read to your child.

Click on the links below to see the lists of books.  Each lists contains 28 books.

          1 Year Curriculum Book of the Week List
2 Year Curriculum Book of the Week List
3 Year Curriculum Book of the Week List
4 Year Curriculum Book of the Week List
          5 Year Curriculum Book of the Week List

And for Elementary Age...

           Early Elementary List of Books

           Late Elementary List of Books 

But books are expensive!  Isn't that what a library is for?

Since 90% of the books on the "ABCJLM Book of the Week" lists are considered classics, the vast majority of these books should be easily found in a public library and several should already be among the book stash at your home.

Unfortunately, I am hearing from some of you that this isn't always the case.  So, what do you do?

Okay, I am going to go out on a limb and say, "You need to own these books." 

Breathe, in and out.
According to, a home library can:
  1. Improve a child's vocabulary and overall reading performance.
  2. Help children do better in math, science, and social studies.
  3. Increase a student's ability to do better on standardized tests.
  4. Increase the likelihood a child will go to college.
Because of these points and others, at least the majority of these should be in your home library.  There is a reason why these books have stood the test of time.  These are books that you will be reading to your grandchildren - if the binding can last the use of your own children.

Ways to gather these books:
  1. Just go out and buy them brand new -, local bookstore, Barnes and many possibilities.  Scholastic Book Orders occasionally have wonderful sets of books for very reasonable prices. 
  2. Purchase them used - This is our method of choice.,, and all have great used book programs.  Just watch your shipping costs!  Also watch garage sales and used book stores.  Many libraries sell donated books as a fund raiser for the library.  We have a local used book, internet store that sells books for $1 a piece.  The books aren't in perfect condition but they are definitely worth the money.  By picking them up at the company's warehouse, I got 22 books for $22! 
  3. Birthday and Christmas Gifts - If you are like our family, we don't need anymore toys.  Why not provide gift-givers a list of books when they ask for suggestions for your child?  The gift of a book will last much longer than the hit toy of the season.
If acquiring these books is not an option for you due to space or costs, take the list to your librarian and see if she can purchase them for the library.  My librarian was very open to this when I asked about a couple of books.  She was surprised that they weren't already in the library.   Also ask about a library loan system.

Do a search for the book titles on You Tube.  Many classic books are available in video form with a person narrating the story as the illustrations float in and out.  (Be careful that the video is not breaking copyright and is either uploaded by the author or publisher!)  By "reading" it beforehand, you know whether a books is worth the purchase.

Some of the more popular folk tales may have several versions and authors.  I have picked one as an option.  Choose which one you like best.

There is not a day that our home library isn't used.  And this makes me very happy!  It is worth the investment!

Come back tomorrow when I will share how we organize our home library!

What books are your favorites?

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The Our Out-of-Sync Life blog focuses on encouraging women to deepen their spiritual life, simplify daily tasks, and impress Jesus on the children around them.