Where do your kids read? On the couch? Cuddled in a cozy chair with you? Lying in bed at night?
You probably have books in your children’s rooms. If you have a playroom, you may have a bookshelf or a basket of books there, too. If you’re like us, you also have a random basket beside the couch in the main living area, as well as by the kitchen table and on the back of the toilet… Two very logical places where kids sit still for a few minutes and are a captive audience!
Those are all wonderful options, but let’s think even more broadly… The more books a child sees every day, the more likely she is to pick them up to read. And the more time a child spends reading, the more practice he gets, the more he finds books he likes, the more he continues to read, and the better reader he becomes. It’s just like anything— the more you do something, the better you will be at it!
So, have you ever considered keeping books in your car? When our oldest was about 1, we started to keep a basket of toys and books on the seat next to her carseat, where she could reach it easily. I quickly realized the benefit of keeping these books in our car, as almost every time we drove anywhere, our toddler would immediately grab a book to look at. Fast forward 4.5 years, and though we’ve since gotten a new basket, our car basket continues to be used and loved almost daily! Even if we’re listening to a completely different audiobook in the car, my girls are likely to have one of these “car books” in their hands. Yes, books that spend time in our car basket get a little more beat up from being dropped around the car, and yes, they can get dirtier when snacks are spilled on them… But as I always told my third graders, the best books are the ones that look a little ratty, because that means they’ve been read and loved!
Just think about the benefits of keeping a book basket in your car. By always having books in your car, your kids also always have something to do in the car. They can also grab those books to take to a restaurant, to wait in line with you at the DMV, or to read in the Costco shopping cart! And, they’re getting that aforementioned exposure to books, building a love of reading and reading more often!
Extra bonus— that basket of books in your car can be the landing place for library books! This makes them easier to keep track of, and simple to round up to return on the next library trip. Potentially more importantly, this basket of books gives you a place to have your children keep those library books that you really don’t care to read aloud to them (like the 18th Daniel Tiger book your 3-year-old checks out in a row or the 37th Disney princess early reader your 5-year-old grabs… Or does that just happen in our house?).
Tell me— do you keep books for your kids in the car? How do you store them? Do you think you’ll give this a try?