Sunday, April 22, 2012

Buying Books & Literacy Rates

The start of this is something I wrote in answer to a question, but I thought it might be good to share here too.

We live in the middle of a few different towns & we don't seem to get to any one of them on a regular basis, so getting books from the library doesn't work too well for us - in other words, the late fees were costing me way too much :( !

New books cost so much, especially when you have a voracious reader like K who will often read 1/2 dozen books each day & needs new material to keep challenging her.  Her current neurodevelopmental program goal is for her to read 100 books between her evaluation in early January & the next one in early May.  K is well past her goal - 110 books, which is great, because January to early April is the busiest time of year for us, & often I struggled to get much program done at all. Because she reads so many books,  I needed to find a cheap way to keep up with her appetite for books. I usually buy 2nd hand which means that I don't usually get a whole series of any books for my kids when they are little, besides the occasional favorite that is worth a bigger investment. I do find though, that K has specific types of books she likes such as ones with real photos of other kids, funny books with lots of action & lately, her favorite author, Robert Munsch, whom she asks for by name. I can often find those at 2nd hand stores, so my Robert Munsch library is growing at a decent rate

I do suggest trying to find a local rummage sale, 2nd hand or thrift store. We often get books for .10 or .25 cents.  I buy lots & the odd one isn't used too much, but I can afford to make some mistakes when I'm not paying a lot.  The last time we went, they were overstocked on books & they had a "stuff as many books as you can in a bag for $2.00 deal - WooHoo!   Shhhh.......don't tell my husband about that either! lol

The other thing to keep in mind, which I wish I had given more thought to a few years ago, is how these books can be used in the future. There are a lot of books that are great to read to a child, but have tiny words, or way too many words on each page.  If you are selective, you can find books which can be read to your kids when they are not reading yet, but are also great for our early reading kids.

I buy a lot of the levelled books - some level one, but mostly level two that K is reading right now, & level 3 & 4's if I find them real cheap because K is reading the odd one now, & I know I will be scrounging for them soon enough. It is different for every kid, but K prefers books which have larger print & not too many sentences per page, & I find that the leveled books are pretty good for this..

In the beginning, we chose books with one large word, then a short phrase, & now, although she finds 2nd grade level books the most enjoyable to read, she still prefers books at that level that don't have a lot of sentences on each page.

 I was reading an article tonight about a US study which talked about the number of books in a home & how that was related to literacy rates. I didn't read the actual study, just the article, but it stated that families who were considered low income had an average of 1 book per 300 kids compared to an average of 13 books per child in a middle income family. In libraries, the were an average of 2 books available per child in low income neighborhoods & 4 in middle income neighborhoods.  There was found to be a close relationship between the number of books & the average literacy rate.

I find the 1 book per 300 kids in low income areas to be quite unbelievable & even 13 books per child in a middle income family seems low.  I suppose if the family frequents the library, perhaps they don't need to buy a lot, but even so, 13 books per kid????  I bought 4 books on Saturday & about 12 the Friday before, plus a 10 stories in one book series - That's just in a matter of a few days, & I buy at least a few books each week - sometimes more!

I really think it is important to have a good supply of quality books on a wide variety of subjects - thanks goodness there are enough inexpensive places to buy books that we can have an endless supply!

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