Oh, how we wish books grew on trees. The reality is that they cost dollars and cents. Let’s face it, times are difficult economically for many. Buying books then becomes one of the last things on the minds of many, especially when it has to compete with meeting the bare necessities. Books can become costly, however there are ways to minimize the cost. Here are seven:
1. Create it. Have your kids create their own books. This is highly advantageous on so many levels. Creating the books allows your kids to exercise their sense of creativity; to sharpen up on their writing and illustration skills; to dig deep and utilize their ever-expanding imaginations; and to take pride and joy in their new creations. Not to mention, your book kids now have new books to add to their home library, without you having to break the bank.
2. Borrow it. Borrow books from your local public or school library. Libraries have numerous titles from which to choose, and they are free. Take advantage of this opportunity to ensure your kids always have reading materials available. We cannot emphasize this enough.
3. Swap it. Organize and host a monthly, quarterly, biannual, or annual book swap party for kids. Collaborate with other parents and have the kids gather books they are willing to get rid of, compile these books and swap them. Everyone then ends up with free books. Can’t beat that! A great way to make the party unique is to organize and display the books as they would appear in an actual bookstore. Give the kids artificial money and have them purchase the books. This is a great way to sharpen up on math skills as well. Alternating locations (various homes, library, park, etc.) will work as an added bonus.
4. Download it. The online resources are endless. There are tons of free children’s books online that are only a click away from your home computer or printer. Your child can either read them online or download and print them. If you don’t have access to a home computer, check with your local libraries. They usually have them available for your use. Here are some great sites to explore: Children’s Storybooks Online, Storyline Online, Free Kids Books, Children’s Books Online, Magic Blox International Children’s Digital Library, We Give Books, and many others.
5. Request it. Ask for free books for your kids. There are numerous literacy organizations that help provide free books to families in need. You can contact them directly or through your local library or children’s schools. Here are a list of a few: First Books, Heart of America Foundation, Kids Need to Read, Library of Congress Books Surplus Program, The Literacy Empowerment Foundation, Books for Kids Foundation, Scholastic Book Grants, Reach Out and Read, Reading is Fundamental. For a list of more programs click here.
6. Win it. Interestingly enough, your book kids can win free children’s books through various reading programs at school, online, or at your local libraries. Many require your kids’ participation in their reading programs. Sign them up, have them read the required number of books, and they win free books. The Scholastic Summer Reading Challenge is one of the largest reading programs currently underway. Check your local listings for others.
7. Buy it. There are times when there may be no other way around it. You may have to buy some books. For such a time as this, know that there are many bargain bookstores that sell discounted children’s books. Check your local listings for them. Some local libraries sell used books for little to nothing. Scholastic Book Fairs is also another great resource for obtaining great books at a very reasonable cost. Again, check your local listings, kids’ schools, and local libraries for information on these book fairs and discounts.
All in all, while books may not grow on trees, these penny-pinching tips, put to great use certainly will make them appear as if they do. Let’s do all we can to make sure our kids have sufficient reading materials, without us having to break the bank in the process. Happy Reading!
By: Dawn Hoff, Book Kids