This is our (very crowded) book shelf. We got it from Toys R Us after seeing the same one at our nephews' house and it is awesome. Now that our collection has expanded so much, I'm going to go back and get a second one - with all the books we receive as gifts and all the books I can't resist buying it too will be full in no time!!
We also have a tub of cloth and board books on the floor that Maximilian can choose books from.
This is great because the board books don't fit really well on the other book shelf and, being strong and hard wearing, tend to get thrown around a lot!
Our storage tub comes from Ikea and is part of the Trofast system, so can be stored easily in the matching shelving - although ours is permanently in the corner. We read so often there is little point in putting it away!
At our house, we've gotten into a great pattern of self directed reading. When Maximilian was very small and less mobile, we chose various books regularly to read with him. When he was around 9 months old, every night Daddy would read a story with him before cuddling him to sleep. We developed a great system where we would choose a story then read the same one for a week with him, which I think gave him a great sense of the books because he would remember them night after night. Of course, we chose books that were our favourites, perhaps from childhood or that we'd found recently and loved.
Now that Maximilian is older and physically able to choose his own books, we try really hard to encourage that. Every afternoon we read books together for about an hour - a terrific way to reconnect when I get home from work and he is tired and a little cranky. Having Maximilian choose his own books works fabulously, although it does sometimes means that Mummy gets to read "101 things that go" far more often that perhaps she'd like!! But it also means that we get a real sense of what interests him at any given moment and can build on that interest through other play activities. And what interests a toddler changes very quickly, so what is a favourite book one day is sometimes completely blah the next.
The other awesome and amazing thing that has happened a few times is when we ask Maximilian to choose a book, such as the one with the caterpillar or the one with Max in it, and he toddles off the book shelf and then returns with the book you asked for. This level of comprehension just blows me away and I am so proud that he is so engaged with his book collection that he can do this.
It's no surprise that one of the pleasures of a picture book is the pictures, and so it's also no surprise that seeing the covers displayed makes the books so much more attractive than displaying them spine out. So many children's books are so thin that the spines are lost on regular bookshelves, which is why a display system like this one works so well. The low fabric "shelves" are perfect for face out display of books and to engage your child with the eye catching, interesting, textured or brightly coloured book covers.
Children learn a love of reading by physically engaging with books, and that is where this book shelf and storage tub excels. The books are stored low to the ground, so really encourages children to engage with books because they are at their level. It also means that often Maximilian will "play with" his books as much as any other toy because they are so accessible to him.
Our house is very small and we don't have a lot of space to spare, but we have made sure that we've set up a small reading corner for Maximilian and Walther. As well as the low book shelf and board book tub, we included a fabulous little $20 couch from Kmart - perfect for snuggling up with a good book. I'd love to get some wall stickers as well - either the alphabet or maybe just spell out "read".
Here is the reading corner in action!
How are your children's books stored? Do you have a reading corner or nook at your place? I'd love to hear about your ideas for encouraging reading and making books accessible for your child!