Kid Designed Home Library
By Shara Lawrence-Weiss
The more I read and learn about literacy, the more I realize how much language and play tie in. Dr. Sally is always saying how “a language rich home produces good readers.” Over the years, many of the kids I’ve worked with, who were successful readers from early on, had parents who talked, answered their questions, allowed countless questions to be asked day in and day out, etc.
I believe that play ties heavily into this, also. Through play, kids learn so much…
As a member of the recovering perfectionists club it’s not always easy for me to let my kids play, without instructing them at all. I’ve gotten better and I continue to grow in this area, every week. Last night my kids got into trouble and in response my daughter said, “Fine! Hey, brother. Let’s play librarian and lock the door to parents. Only kids can come to the library today! Let’s go!”
My husband said, “Okay – who locked the door? Open it right now, please.” I pulled him aside and said, “I know we want to get them into more trouble right now for being naughty and sassy. But let’s just sit back on this one and let it roll, okay? Let’s see what they come up with. Maybe this will help them work through their anger and fighting and they’ll start to get along better.”
So we pulled back…
A while later my kids came out and said, “Okay. The library is open for parents now. You may come in.” They showed us around.
Here, they had pulled some of our Theology books from the bedroom bookshelf and lined them up. They called this the “Parent Shelf.” They asked us to check out a book.
They put puzzles out, a box car that they had made with dad earlier in the day (they called it their Bat Mobile) and some toys to play with. They told us that kids need toys – even in the library.
Here is their Book Nook Chalkboard that I made back in 2010 (they can read and then color a picture to go along with the story). They told me that the apples are for the kids who come in – just in case they get hungry at the library. The books inside the Book Nook are for READING ONLY they informed us rather strictly – they are NOT for checking out.
More books to check out…and more toys to play with.
They set up some additional books in this area and told us it was the official “kid checking out” spot.
Here’s my favorite part. They told me that the clothes were here because kids might come to the library who don’t have enough clothing at home. So they wanted to offer a section for free clothes, for the needy.
They took turns driving their Bat Mobile.
They put their library cards away, for the next visit. (Their cards were Valentine’s Day cards that they pretended were library cards.)
My daughter looked over at me and said, “I know, mom. You want us to clean it up now. You don’t like messes.” I replied, “No baby. Let’s leave this one alone, okay? I like it just the way it is.”