Raising a Bookworm On a Budget

Mike and I L-O-V-E to read. We pretty much constantly have something we’re in the middle of, although these days, we barely have time to read a chapter or two a day. Life is pretty busy! But we enjoy reading, so we make time.

When we found out Olivia was on the way, we knew that we wanted our daughter to grow up to at least appreciate books as much as we do. I don’t know if being a bookworm is a genetic trait or not- if it is, our kids will pretty much be guaranteed bookworms. But even if it’s not a genetic trait, we really want our kids to grow up surrounded by good books.

So, before she was even born, Olivia had a bookshelf stuffed with books. The great news for us, though, is that we didn’t have to spend a dime of our own money to fill Olivia’s bookshelves. Here is how:

Books Instead of Cards

For Olivia’s showers, we asked our friends and family to consider getting her a book instead of a card. Small board books cost just about the same as a Hallmark card, but they are worth a whole lot more! Many of Olivia’s books have handwritten notes from friends and family right on the inside cover. What a sweet gift!

From One Bookworm to Another

On top of asking for books instead of cards, we told our friends and families that they didn’t need to buy a brand new book if they didn’t want to (or couldn’t). We gladly asked for used books. Considering you can get a whole stack for a nickel or less a piece at a garage sale or used bookstore, this was definitely a cheaper option than buying a regular Hallmark card.

The result was that many people gave Olivia whole bags full of books- either from their own libraries or from the local used bookstore. This approach helped keep costs down for everyone and guaranteed Olivia a nice, robust library.

The All-Time Favorite

And of course, I couldn’t write a post about reading without mentioning our ever-favorite local library. Olivia is currently enrolled in the summer reading program. For every book she checks out of the library and “reads” with me, she gets a sticker, and once her sticker chart is filled up, she will get a t-shirt. Probably won’t wear it for a few more years, but they invited everyone, even infants to sign up! It is a great way for us to expand our bedtime reading repertoire, and it has exposed Mike and me to authors we might not have heard of otherwise- Sandra Boynton is one of them!

Besides the summer reading program, we are regularly checking out stacks of books, for both Olivia and for us. We also like to take Olivia to the infant and toddler storytimes when they have it. Olivia LOVES hanging out with all the other little children, and she loves singing and clapping along to the songs and rhymes they introduce.

The End Result?

I don’t know quite whether to call her a bookworm yet, but Olivia certainly does like books. She doesn’t sit still for reading time (she only sits still when she’s asleep), but she loves to flip pages and carry her books around with her. She also adores the touch-and-feel books, and I credit The Very Busy Spider by Eric Carle for Olivia’s early mastery of many farm animal noises. And she obviously has a good understanding of what books are and what we do with them. Good enough for me!

How About You?

How do you include books in your family life at home? Do you prefer to get books secondhand, or do you prefer new books, and why? Leave a comment!

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