Friday, September 7, 2012

I am on a business trip this week, and so I decided to write instead about how we choose books to read. While selection of books changed over years, the methods didn’t change much. Here they are:
  • 1. Take your children to the local library and give them freedom to look around and choose some books on their own. We did this since Smarty was about one year old.
  • 2. Follow your children’ interests while selecting books. We went through several phases already – photo books when she was very young, books with nothing scary in them, non-fiction only and now mostly fantasy books.
  • 3. Add some variety. I always try to add some of my own choices to Smarty's selections – for example, books that expand her horizons in history, geography or science. I also bring poetry books on a regular basis.
  • 4. Keep adding to your own home library if at all possible. I remember reading in Freakonomics that having books at home is a better predictor of children’ academic success than reading to them or taking them to the library. We add to our home library through library book sales, garage sales and occasional bookstore/Amazon splurge.
  • 5. Consider free books. We own 2 Kindles (soon to be three as Smarty keeps asking for her own Kindle for her birthday). There are many free books from Project Guthenberg available for Kindle. They can also be read online, but this is something that we actually avoid doing.
  • 5. Read books about books (or book blogs). I found some good recommendations in Story Stretchers series by Shirley Raines, What to Read When by Pam Allyn and The Read-Aloud Handbook by Jim Trelease.
  • 6. Ask your fellow blog friends. Over years we read a lot of books by visiting participants in WMCIR. For example, right now I have a few books waiting for pickup in the library – recommended by Mama Smiles, What Do We Do All Day and Joyful Learner.
How do you choose the books to read? Do you control/preview what your older children are reading? Please share your opinions in comments.


Joyful Learner said...

I have yet to figure out a strategic way to find books. There's just so many book lists. I even own Gladys Hunt's Honey For a Child's Heart. We also have booklists from other homeschoolers. But in the end, we just browse and find what catches our eyes at the library. Sometimes other blogs help but everyone has different tastes in books that it's a hit or a miss. K has been doing her own search...she's been looking for the MTH's panda book every time we go. Then I showed her the library search and she was able to borrow the audio from another library! Our ES has also recommended testing so we had her tested in reading to give her books more appropriate for her reading level. I'll let you know if it's helpful or not.

Momand Kiddo said...

I like to look at what books won awards, professional book reviews and also kid lit book blogs. BTW, I emailed you about a new book linky starting Monday, even if you are not interested in co-hosting I hope you link up this post, because it's perfect for it.

Debbie said...

Great suggestions, this is how we do it in our home too. No we do not have the Kindle, but I do have the PC version of the Kindle on my computer that we access. I so believe that a home library is one of the best ways to nurture reading, if the books are easily accessible, and new ones added as often as possible a child will be drawn to them automatically.

Christy said...

Great tips!

Ticia said...

These are great suggestions. We go back and forth on buying more books. I need to get some more for them soon.

Melissa @ The Chocolate Muffin Tree said...

Great tips! I've heard too that the more reading material
at home the better readers you will have. Also, if your child sees you reading books that adds to the mix. My daughter always picks out such different books as compared to me and it is so important to let them choose what they want. Thanks! Our school year (student and teacher) is off to a great beginning! A big adjustment though! Hope you and your family are well.

Julie said...

For my daughter, I choose books that my son enjoyed at his age, but we also find a lot of books at the library just by looking around. For my son, I use a lot. I do try to control his reading and have succeed in the past. But I just found out he borrowed a book from the school library that I told him he can't read, and he's been reading it at school. So I guess I'm not doing as well as I used to on that front!

maryanne @ mama smiles said...

Blogs are my number one resource for book recommendations - especially your blog and "What Do We Do All Day?" I request those from the library, and then the kids pick some on their own while we are at the library. I don't preview, but I do try to discuss every book Emma picks with her, as she reads it.