I started our family library before our first child's birth.
While some moms-to-be were shopping for baby clothes, I was adding some of my favorite childhood books to our family library.
Growing up, I had a variety of reading materials, such as magazines, a dictionary, encyclopedias, comic books, music books and maps readily accessible. I firmly believe that my home environment had an incredible effect on my love for the written word and boosted my imagination.
As we began our family, it was important to me to instill a love of reading in my children. I simply can't imagine my children not enjoying an activity that was such a large part of my upbringing and continues to be a major source of both learning and entertainment.
You can create a family library on a budget. Reading materials are available inexpensively and don't need to be fancy for your family to enjoy a fulfilling experience.
Visiting your local library is wonderful. Having a home library increases opportunities to connect with your children, and they are exposed to reading materials on a daily basis instead of relying solely on library trips and school reading.
Our main home library is in our living room, which makes it a focal point in our home.
We have built-in bookcases that house a variety of books. Our children also have their own bookcases in their bedrooms, and books can be found displayed in almost every room of our home.
Reading materials are simply a part of everyday family life.
For your primary library, find a spot that is comfortable and inviting, has good lighting and allows your children to reach for materials at any time.
Selecting and buying materials is the fun part.
One of our typical family activities includes visiting thrift stores, garage sales, dollar stores and used-book stores. We give our children their own spending money to encourage them to choose their own books, but we provide parental guidance on their selections.
They observe us regularly buying reading materials and visiting the library and are always curious about what we've selected. It has become a way of life.
Initially, I thought my son might not develop a love of reading. I was sad and thought that increased daily family reading time would encourage him, but I found that he was withdrawing from it more.
We continued our family reading time, but allowed our children to choose whether they wanted to be involved. This was painful, as I sometimes watched him choose television or video games over reading, but he was still observing that we read daily even if he chose not to.
I found little ways to connect, such as reading out loud various materials such as newspaper articles or a mail-order catalog to engage him in conversations without being forceful.
We noticed his interest in video games, so we started to bring home materials that were of a similar theme as the games he enjoyed.
My husband started to read to him one-on-one versus our typical group reading time. From there, my husband asked him to read a few pages out loud, and then they would take turns. We offered plenty of praise.
We also informed our son that, if he was reading quietly, he could have extra free time before bedtime. Bingo! We found the magic combination.
Now not only does he love reading; he seeks out reading time on his own throughout the day and evening, and, before he even finishes one book, he's already talking about what he'll be reading next.
Sara Noel owns Frugal Village (frugalvillage.com).