Today my children chose to swap out the books on their bookshelves. At the moment they use one tiered book shelf in the study displaying forward facing books, mostly non-fiction and they both have one small book shelf in their bedroom which displays only the spine of the book, holding a couple of chapter books (my daughters) and some story books to enjoy during the day or for before bedtime reading.
Both of my children are more than capable at this age and stage of choosing which books to display/read and when to rotate. We don’t have the answers to the perfect system of organising or rotating books, but what we are currently doing seems to be working well for us.
In our linen cupboard on a low-shelf is where we store all of my children’s books that are not on display. This linen cupboard is not far from their study or bedroom so is in an ideal location for swapping out their books.
- When my children were very little I only put out 2-3 books, forward facing for them, either in a small basket or on display on their ‘Montessori-style low to the floor shelves’
- Limit the quantity. Try not to have out too many books at the one time as not to overwhelm (I have done this many times). If you like to do things Kon-Mari style you may opt for the Minimalist-style approach and only display books in the one place/one room. In theory I really wanted to do this, but found overall that having books in two places worked the best for us.
- I presumed my children would love the idea of a book shelf/basket next to a comfy arm chair but ours was rarely used. I found that both of my children tend to prefer to use a floor cushion or sit on a rug on the floor with a book or sit on their beds and read. All children are different though.
- Only more recently now that my eldest is almost six, have I been more ok with fantasy fairy-tale style books as this is what she has asked to read, so we keep a few at home. Ideally I prefer to have books (non fiction) that my children can learn about the real world. My five-year old’s current favourite books are ones on space, how people around the world live, bird books and other animal and nature books. My son’s favourite books at 3 years of age are books about modes of transportation and animals. We do have books like the Peter Rabbit books and Pooh Bear stories, so I am not that strict in this regard but I just kept these kind of stories for more the 3+ age group and the fairy-tale books for closer to the 6+ age group.
- Early on I organised, displayed and rotated their books, but over time my children happily took over this work and really love to do it now. They don’t tend to rotate their books very often, only when they seem to want a break from certain books. I have only ever seen them swap out some books not all of the books at the same time.
- There are so many beautiful Montessori-style books out there, that as much as I would love to have them in our home, I prefer these days to purchase the odd ‘great brand new book’ for Birthdays, but get most of our books borrowed from the Library (my children choose their own books) or purchased from an op shop/thrift store.
- Overall though when choosing books I will look at real-to-life, age appropriate and books with rich language and beautiful photography/images.