A tale of 47 books

Currently I have 47 books checked out from our local public library.



At casa de phillips, we now have three library bags because one was just not cutting it. I am the mom who no one wants to be behind at the self check-out station because it takes me forever to scan our stack of treasures and DVDs. After I finish scanning, there is the whole business of having to distribute the mound of books between the three library bags in just the right way to ensure that the children can help me carry everything to the car.

The poor things look like their mama has never heard of child labor laws as they schlep large bags of books to the family station wagon while I use such encouraging words as “Come on! The bag is only twice your size! You can make it to the car!” to prod them along.

(By the way, does your local public library have the self scan station? Ours does and it is the library patrons only option for checking out books. I am not  a fan of the self check-out station, mainly because it seems to always malfunction while I attempt to scan. Perhaps I am overloading the system with my 47 books…)

As witnessed by the large amount of books we take out of the public library on a weekly basis, reading is an essential part of our daily life here at casa de phillips. All four of us love to read, love books and love the library.

Many parents want to know: How does one make such a love for the written word grow and flourish in children?


Put words everywhere.

I label a lot of stuff, partly because I adore my label maker and partly because I wanted the children to understand the relationship between words and things. By placing words out in the open in one’s home, children encounter them every day. They see that letters  make words and that words have actual meaning. Putting words everywhere in the home…and this can be done decoratively…helps create an understanding of written text and can lead to a love of learning.


Read, read, and read some more

Read to your children everyday, rain or shine. Our family pediatrician recommends reading to children at least thirty minutes a day. When I read aloud to the kids, I allow myself a veto option. I am not a lover of mindless children’s books that are based on popular cartoon characters. I find these texts to be poorly written and boring. Instead I look for books that are humorous to both child and adult. Also, do not feel that children can only be read aloud from text made for their age group. Pull out a good chapter book and read it (slowly) together as a family. You will be surprised by the amount of interest shown by the children.


Complete extension activities.

Part of learning to love to read is being able to create a picture of the text in one’s head. Extension activities really make the written word come alive. After reading a fun book. recreate the storyline by putting on a family play (Added bonus: Retelling a story after listening to it is the best way to sharpen one’s reading comprehension skills….more so than any reading comp worksheet or activity book). Paint a picture about a favorite character. Cook a meal based on one someone dined upon in a book. Show children that the words and stories found in the pages of a book can very much be alive.


Read Yourself.

Let your children see you reading yourself. Set the example by showing them that you value the written word and enjoy taking time out of your day to sit quietly and read. Do not save your reading for after the kids are tucked safely into bed at night. Give yourself some grace and spend a few minutes during the day reading while the children play nearby.


Want a peek into my bookshelf for this month?

Here is what I plan on reading or am currently reading:


Grace for the Good Girl

Playful Learning


What are you reading this month?

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2 thoughts on “A tale of 47 books”

  1. Right now I’m reading The Brothers Karamazov (that was more of a bet with a friend. Glad I’m two thirds of the way through now) and Barefoot in Baghdad which is AMAZING by Manal M. Omar, an Arab-American woman who travels with an NGO to promote women’s rights in occupied Iraq. I was almost late for work this morning because I accidentally stayed up past midnight reading last night. I’m just 30 pages from the end! It was a lucky “impulse purchase” that I grabbed as I hurried through the library a few weeks ago.

    With my first graders we just finished an author study on Judith Viorst. Our current chapter book is The Wind in the Willows, and our next author study will be Patricia Polacco. There are other books that are a part of our reading instruction, but we read these for fun, and sometimes as mentor texts for our writing.

    When I taught fourth grade I got to know the children’s librarian at our local public library branch very well. Because I didn’t like the basal series and thought the students would perform better with novel studies, (and I couldn’t afford class sets of books) I would order 30 copies of a book and he would assist me. When our school library resources were just not adequate enough to conduct a study of foreign countries, he started pulling books from shelves. The library is kind of like my Costco; I shop in bulk.

    So it’s a joke to the librarians whenever I come in with a book I pick up for myself. “Oh Miss Phillips, I see you’re checking out a grown-up book today.” Haha. 🙂

  2. My partner and I were just talking to some of our colleagues last night about reading. We are all in our mid-twenties working towards our postgraduate degrees. Our friends were saying that they don’t really read for pleasure, even when they are on break from the heavy reading load of the semester. My partner and I are always reading… him in particular. I can only imagine that our home will have a very similar vibe if we have a family.
    Sending love to your and your bookworms.


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