Now that we have a second reader, beginning though he may be, I am working toward teaching him libracy. I was introduced to the concept through the Genii of Language by Alan Whitehead. Though the lesson is for grade two I believe it is a worthwhile rule to have for all ages toward books.

I am a not a fan of the it-doesn’t-matter-what-they-are-reading-as-long-as-they-are-reading thought. There are so many terrible books. Completely crap books available at the library and most certainly on prominent display next to the toys at the chain books stores. There are great books stores everywhere with a well curated selection of books that would never deign to carry such atrocities. I have a big list of those, trust me. And I have no beef with those stores. But churning out pablum is a mystery. Why waste the paper?

In the Genii curriculum book the lesson is based on creating a library. For two weeks the child is surrounded by beautiful, well-written and well-illustrated books. Shelves of them. And the lesson is to lounge of a big pillow and read. Not only just read but to browse and be read to. To be enveloped by the beauty that can be the written word.

We are just in the beginning of reading with my second little and I am so looking forward to our libracy lesson next year. I fondly remember our lesson with Dash who I am still practicing the concept with. At the library he prefers to browse the comics, a few of which he may check out, but only the book ones and they must be okay’ed by me. I choose around 10 novels, books of poetry, plays or non-fiction at his level and when we get home he chooses which to read. I don’t make a fan-fare around what is chosen from that pile and if it is required lesson reading I let him know and keep tabs on how the reading is going but otherwise, he is on his own. It is a concept which has served us well.

Wondering what others think of this? How do you choose the reading material for your children?


6 thoughts on “libracy

  1. Speaking from a librarian’s perspective, I support the idea of teaching BROWSING books. I was just thinking last week that by and large (in fact95% of the time) children who visit the library come only (and I mean ONLY) in search of books that have been marketed to them. They never browse the shelves for unknown titles or for old treasures they can find. Our culture and hi-tech marketing has made browsing seem like a mind numbing chore rather than an adventure. So glad you are offering your children the gift of thoughtful exploration of books less noticed.

    1. Thanks Lindsay. While your library is set up for browsing I find most libraries to have banks of computers and children running around eating and so browsing is difficult. I find it very interesting about the marketing. We are fairly media free and wondering where the books are marketed? It makes 100% of sense I just assumed they were mostly marketed to parents who are distraught that their children won’t read anything (sarcasm!).

  2. I get my children’s reading lists from “The Well Trained Mind”. The lists are extensive and tend to focus on the classics. I also have them read one biography and one non-fiction every week as well. šŸ™‚

  3. I definitely steer the ship at the library/bookstore. While I am the one doing (most) of the reading, I want them to know what good literature sounds and feels like, and share some classics they may not choose otherwise (love audiobooks for this too). That said, we all enjoy a little “junk food” now and then, so I can see my reins loosening more in the future when they are the ones doing (most of) the reading, though it is my hope that the foundation laid will guide them in the majority of their choices.
    I am also a huge fan of browsing and discovering treasures on the shelves; a day doing just that is my kind of perfect.

  4. We have great fun browsing in the local second hand stores….vintage books, nature books, old Time Life books, there are so many classics written in the early 1900’s by incredibly imaginative writers. We get recommendations from older folks what they read as kids and got them excited, and are still great for us. We are absolutely media free and so my son has read all those books that got exploited by movies and fortunately got to enjoy the stories in the purest form. A great recommendation from a Waldorf teacher friend/parent was anything from Astrid true..(.beyond Pipi Longstocking!), and there is also a good guide called “Make Way for Reading” which maps out age appropriate suggestions. My son loves to browse the library and yes, it is riddled with junk and computers and dvds are the draw for others…but there are a lot of neat old books tucked away n the shelves amoung the junk….especially in older towns. Just time consuming and worrisome about the exposure to so many books at once and so many with not so beautiful artwork or themes…definitely the dumbing down of society is evident with the newer books.

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