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Building Your Baby's Bookshelf

We all want our kids to be great readers, and one of the best ways to foster a love of books is by creating a personal library for your child. A library of their own gives your child a place they can explore new worlds, have great adventures, and learn new and exciting things without leaving home.

When your child starts developing their own library, you can find a special place for their books. Be it a bookshelf, a basket, a box of some sort, it should be a place where the books are going to be well cared for, a place where little sisters and brothers cannot get to them, and a place that they can curl up and read whenever they want.

Choosing books for your child’s library:

  • Look for stories based on your child's interests. What do they love to do?
  • Stick with the tried-and-true. Does your child have a favorite character? Find out if that author has written more about them. Check for stories that have similar themes.
  • Choose situational stories. Choose books that relate to what is going on with your family. Stories about new babies and vacations can take the mystery out of scary situations and celebrate special events.
  • Choose a book appropriate to your child's development. Can your child easily handle the book? Are the pictures bright and attractive?
  • Look for books that foster independent reading skills. When you don’t have time to read wordless picture books, allow your child to ‘read’ the pictures and follow the story.
  • Choose the right reading level. Your child should be able to understand the story. If your child has a book that is too hard for them, you or an older sibling can read the book aloud.
  • Let them choose. Let your child take the lead in creating their library.

Where to get books:

  • School book fairs often support your child’s school library. Check out the specials, which are usually filled with favorites.
  • eBay is a great website if you want to acquire a series of books for relatively little money. Collections and series are often available in their entirety.
  • Have a playdate book swap to share and trade books between family and friends.
  • Make a book list in case family and friends are looking for a quick gift to give your child.
  • Check out the local library. It’s a place you can try before you buy.
  • Create a book-giving tradition. Making sure a book is part of important events is a great way to celebrate and create memories.
  • The 10th Annual CBC - Calgary Reads Book Sale happens May 11 to 13, 2012, at the Calgary Curling Club. There will be a sale of thousands of gently-used books of all kinds for kid-friendly prices. This year’s event will be better than ever with live music and a storytelling tent for your children to enjoy! There are books available for every member of your family.

Creating your child's library can be fun and inexpensive. As you can see, there are lots of ways to build a collection of books that grow with your children and meet their interests.

Calgary Reads trains volunteer tutors to work with struggling Grade 1 and 2 readers so that all children can read with confidence. For more information about Calgary Reads programs, or the CBC Calgary Reads Book Sale or to volunteer, visit

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