[Note: This post is part of a 31 day focus on read-aloud. To see the entire list, go here: 31 Days of Read-Aloud.]
Yesterday I talked about why reading aloud to your kids is so important. Today, I’m going to challenge you to put on your decluttering shoes and throw away some books. What!?
Yeah, you heard me. Get a trash bag and toss some books. Since reading aloud is so important, you don’t need to clutter up your bookshelves, home, and time with poor reading material. So, you have my blessing and my permission to throw away books in the following categories:
Books you hate reading to your kids
You know the ones. If you absolutely cringe inside when your child brings that horrible book to you, or you repeatedly say, “Not that one!”, toss it. There is no rule that says you have to read awful books, even if your child likes them. And you don’t have time to read crappy books – there are too many other, great kid’s books to read.
For me, this category includes any book based on a Disney character. I refuse to buy or read books about princesses, books with licensed characters (Dora, Barbie, etc), and I’m not a huge fan of the Berenstain Bears or the limited-vocabulary Dr. Seuss books.
Books that are abused (torn up, chewed and written in)
Toddlers and preschoolers will do this. Your mileage may vary, but I find it’s best to immediately throw trashed books away. It sends a message to a small child that the book that’s mistreated immediately disappears from their life. I’m not a “things” person, but I am kind of a bear about books. I teach my kids from a very young age that books don’t belong on the floor, they don’t go on the floorboard of the car, you don’t eat over books, throw them, etc.
Books that came free with fast food meals
(Come on. Admit that you do have in your collection at least one book that came free in a fast food kid’s meal. I am!)
Books that make noise
You know the ones. Grandparents and others who don’t live with your kids buy these. Please. Books that make noise aren’t books, they’re video games with low self esteem. Provide your own sound effects when you read to your kids. Not to mention, the “button” batteries that go into those noisy books are killing toddlers.
Books that left you or your kids cold
This topic is an entire blog post, which I’ll do at some point in this series. Books that leave you and your kids cold are books that don’t belong in your house. And this would include books that you wanted your kids to like because you loved them as a kid, or classics that you “should” love but don’t.
Note: If throwing books away is a sacrilege to you, then go ahead and list them on PaperBackSwap.
Charlotte Mason, educator extraordinaire, refers to crappy kids books as “twaddle”. And I agree. Get rid of them, and clean up your book collection so that every single book you own is beloved by you and your kids. Tell me your thoughts in the comments!
Polar Bear, Polar Bear, What Do You Hear? – All my babies (1-4) have loved these books illustrated by Eric Carle. Babies and toddlers love repetition in read-alouds.
Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No-Good, Very Bad Day – I love this book not only because it helps kids realize that everyone has bad days occasionally, but because it also reminds parents that kids have stresses of their own that we sometimes miss. Sometimes we parents are a bit clueless about what’s troubling our kids. Read to the 8 year old.
Corduroy – read to the 3 year old in a desperate, unsuccessful attempt to get her to nap. Then, read it again to the baby before bed.
I didn’t do so good today reading to the older kids (other than history lesson and other school stuff). We’re in the process of repainting the house and everything is topsy-turvy at the moment.