This is a follow-up to my previous post Fostering a Book Time Ritual.
I love the library. What homeschooler does not like the library!? However, I noticed over the past year that we were not going to the library as much as I had imagined we would when I started to have children. Play dates, errands, chores…everything piles up, and it’s hard to find time for something extra. On top of that, we have plenty of books at home.
But then one day I overheard a homeschooling mom say that she would bring a small wagon to the library to carry the books that she and her children checked out. That image stuck with me, and I asked myself, “Why am I not using our library more?”
We have a wonderful, little library less than a ten-minute drive from our house. NOTHING ELSE is that close to use! I have to drive twenty minutes to the grocery store and close to thirty minutes for everything else. Sometimes I complain about that, but I have no excuses when it comes to the library.
Even though this library is very small (probably no bigger than the downstairs of my house), it has a great selection of children’s books. But even better, it’s connected to the PINES Online Library Catalog, and libraries throughout Georgia are part of the Pines System.
If you live in Georgia, you need to learn more about this wonderful service. You can place books on hold through the PINES website, and they will be delivered to your home library at no expense. You can return them to any library in the PINES system. This means you get to browse books at more than 275 libraries! Waiting for the books to arrive may take some time, but I have not had a problem with that.
I also learned that I can checked out up to 50 books on one card! I’m sure systems like this are available in other places, so be sure to ask at your local library!
There are other, larger libraries that we visit too. We call the Athens-Clarke Library the “big library,” and my boys love to go there. This is what I have decided when it comes to using the libraries:
- If you are searching for books on a specific topic, such as “planets” or “weather” or “math” then go to the library and search for the shelf with those books.
- However, if you are searching for a specific title, go to the Internet and order it through the PINES catalog. Because I have trouble finding specific titles when I’m at the library. One of the books the librarian searched for me had been missing from their shelf for over a year.
Intentional Reading/Generating Reading Lists for Your Children
So what books am I checking out for my five-year-old who is a homeschooled kindergartener? I already explained how he loves non-fiction books in my last post, and I’m using book time to cover certain “kindergarten” topics such as the solar system and the weather/water cycle, etc.
But I’ve decided I wanted to be more proactive about what kind of literature I’m going to chose for him too. Don’t get me wrong – the best way to start using the library is to go there and let your children pick whatever books they want! I’m just adding to that.
To get me started, I found two resources that I love:
- DAWCL or Database of Award-Winning Children’s Literature – Lisa R. Bartle is a librarian who came up with the idea for this wonderful database. The best part about it is the search parameters. You can search by age, setting, historical period, ethnicity of protagonist or tale, languages, genre and more! If you are studying a specific topic, this is a wonderful resource! I generated a list of multicultural early readers for my son because one of my goals is teaching international education.
- The second resource is something I had been wishing for: 75 Books That Build Character was put together by Allison McDonald on No Time for Flash Cards. (I thank Ahimsa Mama for tipping me off to this list….Click on her link for other good reading resources.) Not only have I been wanting to be more selective about the books I pick for my son, I had also been wanting to find a resource for character building – teaching him how to be good, humble, honest, etc. So I’ve started ordering a few of these books through the interlibrary loan. We already read the first title, Shelia Rae, The Brave, by Kevin Henkes, and my son loved it.
I’m sure I could accomplish the same goals just by reading as many books to him as I can get my hands on, and I’ll continue to do that. But I am a planner/organizer, and as I think about our homeschool mission, it feels good to have goals and lists to work through.
Do you have any resources to share on generating great reading lists for children?
(And psssst…..There will be a free give-away later next week on my blog for mothers who want to nurture their creativity! So stay tuned!)