Build a Home Library to Increase Your Child’s Success in School

Mother and Son Reading Books at the Garden, with Crayons on the Picnic TableI was recently going through boxes in my basement and I came across a box of picture books. Opening the box and looking at the titles was like re-living moments with my son when I read the books for the first or 31st time. My heart was so happy. Those picture books provided a lot of value in my son’s life and mine.

Research shows that having a home library significantly improves a child’s academic success. Books build a child’s vocabulary and increase their awareness of the world. A home filled with books encourages and models reading for enjoyment. Many parents are quick to purchase books and fill their home with as many as possible. However, research shows that having a home library with as few as 20 books can positively impact a child’s future.

Building Your Home Library

It can feel a little overwhelming to build a home library for your child. There are a multitude of books to choose from. Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library makes building a home library easy. All children in Shawnee birth to their 5th birthday are eligible to receive a free book mailed every month to their home. These are books to keep! A child who is signed up at birth will receive 60 books by the time they turn 5!

Here are some hints to help you select books for your home library:

  • Share books you loved as a child.
  • Notice and point out the rhyme, rhythm and repetition of a story.
  • Look for books with your child’s favorite character.
  • Buy used books (Chandler Booktique is a fabulous source for quality used books).
  • Purchase a book while on vacation or on a day trip (perhaps a trip to the zoo).
  • Consider books that are interactive.
  • When shopping with your child, offer them a choice of two books. More than two options can be overwhelming.
  • Talk to a librarian for book recommendations.
  • Select books relevant to your child and his/her interests (trains, dogs, etc.).
  • Select some books about people who aren’t like your family. This could be people in another country, people of a different race or ethnicity, or families structured differently than yours (single parent, two parents, parents of the same gender, adopted kids, etc.)
  • Celebrate accomplishments or milestones with a book (first day or preschool or toilet training).

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As the Early Childhood Learning Coordinator, Sherry is focused on engaging young children and their families in play-based early learning experiences. The Learn & Play Bus and its service are at the heart of her work. Sherry has a background in early childhood education.