When I was a kid, one of my favorite days at school was when my teacher would pass out the Scholastic Book orders. I’d study every page and end up circling pretty much everything in it. I loved when my mom ordered books from Scholastic.
As a parent, not much has changed. I still pore over the orders and pick out books for my kids. My favorite are any books that are seasonal. In fact, as an adult, I often read books that fit the season. My problem with buying picture books for each season and holiday was I had too many and they were never in the right place at the right time. I’d have a random Halloween book on Anna's book shelf, but when it was actually Halloween, I didn’t know where to find it.
I finally got smart. I began putting the books in my decoration totes, so when I got out fall decorations, the fall books were in there too. I also use a small file box for holidays with just a few books. (like Valentine’s Day or St. Patrick's)
Seasonal Shelves: Next, I needed somewhere to display these books. And my solution was an easy, affordable one. I simply bought two spice racks from Ikea and used a corner of our playroom. (They don’t have these exact spice racks anymore, but any of their spice racks or wall storage will work) I use one shelf for the season (summer books) and one for the holiday (4th of July books). The fun thing is you can add a book here and there to keep it exciting. Also, these books only come out one time a year, so like any tradition, they become special. When I pull out a book my kids haven't seen for a while, they get really excited.
I printed and laminated these labels.
(Click on the picture below for a printable.) I keep them in the same place and just change them out for each new holiday.
The Reading Corner. Use a corner of a room like a playroom, basement, or bedroom. Our reading corner is 3x4 feet. It doesn't need to take up a lot of space. Here’s the fun part. Make it the most comfortable place in your house. You know those big stuffed animals people without kids bought for your family without asking? Throw them in there. We have a little tumbling mat and a beanbag in ours. Add lots of blankets. Add a wall light or decorations. Whatever you want to make it special. (I got the leaf decoration and wall light at Ikea as well.) Reading is fun, but for reluctant readers, comfort can go a long way for making them excited about books.
When selecting books, get creative. I mentioned Fourth of July books. Use this time of year to read biographies of the founding fathers, or learn about the revolutionary war. Thanksgiving? I’ve learned more about Thanksgiving (as in the actual historical event) from reading children’s books than in my 35 years prior. I added Earth Day books this year because Easter was early and I didn’t have anything fun for late spring. I found some cool books about conservation and one with interesting facts about the earth. Seasons/holidays are a great way to work non-fiction books into your home library. As my kids grow, I add some more challenging books because I don’t want the seasonal bookshelf to be something they outgrow.
Where did I get these books? You guessed it, Scholastic. I promise I'm not sponsored by them, yet. Seriously though, the book orders are the best place to buy books because the prices are great, they feature seasonal books each month, and your kids’ school benefits from your purchases. If your kid isn't in a class where he or she receives book orders, check half-priced books, library book sales, or Goodwill. I'll bet you already have seasonal books. Go around your house and collect all your seasonal/holiday books and see what your collection already looks like.
Start small and let your seasonal library grow over the years. I hope you try this with your kids or grandkids. Part of making kids learners for life is to connect warm memories with books and reading. Anything you can do to make that connection with them is helpful.