We all want our children to lhave a love for reading, right? Well, if your kids are anything like mine was at a young age, this can present a challenge. For many reasons, not all kids love to read. There are probably many ways to meet this challenge head-on (and I may have tried them all), but what worked well for Ben is the book basket.
What is a book basket?
A book basket is exactly what is sounds like — a basket filled with books. For much of our homeschool journey, we have had two, one for library books and one for books we own. Any basket will do; a laundry basket is perfect. We have about 20 of these milk crates in our homeschool room. I use them for storing most of our homeschool curriculum and educational books by subject. But for many years we kept two of them in our family room for our homeschool book baskets, since that’s where we spent most of our time and did a lot of our school work when Ben was younger. Over the years, he has developed the habit of keeping book baskets in his room now.
Choosing Books for Your Book Basket
Since Ben was in kindergarten, whenever we started a new unit study, I immediately went to our library’s website and began searching for books to go along with our topic. Often the unit we were doing had a book list we could use, or I might have looked at other book lists online, but most of the time I just scoured the library’s search engine. Once the books were ordered and picked up, they went into the basket. I also pulled books off our own shelves, especially reference books like atlases, encyclopedias, and such to put into our other book basket.
How to Use the Book Basket
From these baskets, Ben was free to read as he pleased. The library basket was generally filled with a combination of picture books, chapter books, nonfiction books, and DVDs. Every day he was required to read from the book baskets for a prescribed period of time (we began in kindergarten with 15 minutes, building up to the 2 hours he generally reads today). Because the books and DVDs went along with our unit study (which he had usually chosen), he found the book baskets interesting.
As a young child, using this method did wonders to encourage Ben to read independently and for pleasure. I often noticed him grabbing a book from the baskets apart from his required reading time. Over time, using this technique led to a tremendous love of reading for Ben that has carried him into his high school years.
If you’re having difficulty getting your children to enjoy reading, you might try using book baskets. In the beginning, Ben would often do little more than hold the book in his lap or look at pictures. But as time went on, he began to read more and more. So be patient, it may not be an immediate hit, but if you fill your child’s book baskets with books about subjects they choose, love, or are interested in, they won’t be able to keep themselves from looking at them. Be consistent and persistent and I think you’ll find your child loving reading more and more.
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