Treat your home library like a home gym and flex your reading muscles.
People are more likely to exercise if their gym is closer to their home or office, and having a home gym can be a great solution since there are fewer excuses for skipping a workout! Thankfully, home libraries work in the same way, and we have suggestions for creating and maintaining one for all your family’s reading needs and wants. With a stocked home library collection that stays fresh and engaging, a good book will only be a few feet away!
When you first start out exercising, you don’t need a bike, a treadmill, a rowing machine, and a full set of weights. A little space somewhere and perhaps a mat and some sneakers will do! Likewise, don’t be intimidated if you don’t have a lot of books or a bookshelf. Decorate a milk crate or a delivery box, put in a few books, and place it somewhere both kids and adults can reach and explore!
Work on different “muscle groups” different days.
If you focus only on getting stronger arms, you are missing out on getting the rest of your body in shape. Just like we build in cardio days, days to work different muscle groups, and rest days, we can seek out different types of books: autobiographies, graphic novels, classic novels, fantasy, instructional, and many, many more. Especially when kids are beginning to develop their own preferences for books, it’s fun to expose them to all different types of reading materials.
Keep it fresh!
Fitness fads come and go, but trying something new in your exercise routine keeps you from getting bored. The same is true for you collection of home library books, so stock up at yard sales, second hand stores, book swaps, and library book sales whenever you see them, and listen up for free book giveaways throughout the city. And, of course, visit the library regularly so that everyone in the family can borrow new selections and rotate them into your reading mix.
Doing something is better than nothing!
A long exercise session just isn’t going to happen every day despite our best efforts, but devoting even a little bit of time to getting your body moving can go a long way. Reading works the same way for your mind! Each reading session doesn’t have to be ten bedtime stories in a row (although your kiddo may keep asking for more)! Simply carving out some time each day to read as a family (as well as perhaps some wind-down “me time” at the end of the day) can become an important relaxing and bonding activity.
Marni Fogelson is the co-chair of Team First Book Philadelphia, a nonprofit with the mission of providing new, diverse, free books to local children in need. She is also a children’s book author and has written for various parenting and design websites and publications. She loves reading to and with everyone in her family, including her dog Sparky (who is a great listener). Discover the amazing work First Book Philadelphia is doing @FirstBookPhiladelphia