The Library

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“Books to the ceiling,
Books to the sky,
My pile of books is a mile high.
How I love them! How I need them!
I’ll have a long beard by the time I read them.”
[Arnold Lobel]

 

Well, it has begun, I have no more shelf space for all of the books in my apartment.  My husband and any of our friends who come over can agree that there are books all over!  I have books, obviously, on bookshelves, books on coffee tables, books in the kitchen, books in the alcohol cabinet, books upon books on hanging shelves, and even books all over the back on my car!  The only place that there are no books, yet, are in the bathroom.  But, they are everywhere else!  

I am a rather neat and tidy person, when it comes to everything else but my books. Everything in our apartment has a place, but when it comes to books, their place is everywhere!  The more the merrier I always say!  Some girls picture themselves being a crazy cat lady… I am a crazy book lady!

And when you love books, the need to have more books does not stop when you have “run out of room.”  Every bibliophile would agree that a house filled to the brim with books would be a perfect place to live.  I am sure many of you have seen the meme that says “I watch Beauty and the Beast for the library.”  But really that’s how I feel in any story where there is a description of a large library.

 

Lemony Snicket always was good for library commentary:

“A good library will never be too neat, or too dusty, because somebody will always be in it, taking books off the shelves and staying up late reading them.”   

 

When I read the description of Mo and Meggie’s house in Inkheart or when Despereaux comes across the castle’s library for a quick snack on book glue, I swoon!  And of course, for those of you who are Game of Thrones fans, whose heart didn’t stop when seeing Oldtown’s massive library for the first time in this most recent season!?

 

This semester I completed a child development class where we studied the Illinois preschool learning standards.  And one benchmark for young children to meet is to “demonstrate an understanding and enjoyment of literature.”  Further down under this goal is the sub-goal to “establish personal connections with books.”

(To check out all of Illinois’ learning standards you can click the following link:  http://illinoisearlylearning.org/ields/benchmarks.htm)

 

“Establish personal connections with books.”  Wow, what a great goal for children to achieve.  Books are wonderful!  And one thing fantastic about mixing books with children is that many of the subjects or stories are completely novel to them!  As a grown-up raising the next generation of make-believers, you may be the first person to ever introduce a child to fairy-tales, mysteries, adventures, comic books, joke books and so much more!  What a huge responsibility!

If this is the case, then it is the duty of an early childhood educator, caretaker or a parent to research and gather children’s books that are engrossing and lively while also catering to your children’s interests.  I don’t want to say there is such a thing as a bad book.  But there is such a thing as a great book!  I think that as someone who is in charge of young children, there should be an endless supply of quality books for children to enjoy.  If you are a teacher, one way to emphasize reading while connecting to all interests is to put books in every area of the room.  Have books about building and architecture in the block area.  Have books about animals and nature in the science area.  Readers, you get the idea!

These books should be fiction and nonfiction books.  And when introducing nonfiction books, show a child how to use the book.  Maybe the book your child has selected is all about different types of trains.  Typically reference and nonfiction books have a table of contents.  Ask your child what types of trains they would like to learn about while reading off the table of contents.  Once the child gives you an answer, find the one specified in the table, run your finger over to the page number and say, “The table of contents says those trains are on page 15.  Let’s find that page in the book.”  With a child who is confident in number recognition, you can let the child find his or her way to the page by first pointing out where the page number is located on the book.  This is a great way to incorporate book skills as well as number skills all in one fun activity!

Children love to look at books filled with information and fascinating pictures.  When my class was learning about reptiles and amphibians I brought in this large sized book of reptiles.  (Think, Monster-Book-of-Monsters-size!)  And every day, after circle time I would have students so eager to get their little book-loving hands on that hardback that I had to do a small lesson with the class about sharing books with our friends!  I love sitting back and watching children open a book and observe the excitement on their faces!  I still can picture a group of my boys all sitting around the reptile book pointing at each picture, gasping, giggling, and asking each other questions about the creatures that they found within the its pages.  What a lovely scene!      

 

One of my favourite writers, Neil Gaiman, has a wonderful stance on child literacy:

“The simplest way to make sure that we raise literate children is to teach them to read, and to show them that reading is a pleasurable activity. And that means, at its simplest, finding books that they enjoy, giving them access to those books, and letting them read them.”

 

Back to my ever filling apartment of books: a library does not have to be the name for a building solely filled with books, a reference desk, and quiet staff members.  Every room can become a library.  A classroom should be its own library!  A child’s bedroom should be a library.  Your kitchen should be a library.  The more exposure to books a child gets when he or she is young, the more open to reading that child will become.  It will seem only natural to always have a book in hand!  

Therefore, you have this book-lover’s permission to fill every nook and cranny with books.  Pile them high!  Stack them around the room.  Display them in easy to reach areas.  And most of all, read them!  If a standard for children is to establish a personal connection with books, then it is the role of an adult to model that goal in their own life!  Take your child to the library and to the bookstore.  Allow them to pick out their own books and while you’re at it, pick out a book for yourself!  Not only should a child establish a personal relationship with books, books should be part of the personal relationship a child forms with the adults in their lives!

 

Want ideas on how to build book-centric relationships with your children?  Leave me a comment here or email me at roseonreading@gmail.com!  You can also follow me here, on my instagram page or on facebook @roseonreading for blog updates!

 

Thanks for reading.  Please enjoy these parting words:

“There are many types of books in the world, which makes good sense because there are many types of people, and everybody wants to read something different.”

[Lemony Snicket]

Your Friend Who is Slowly Being Buried By Books,
K. Rose

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