Saturday, 14 January 2017 03:47

Should I Buy or Borrow Books for my Child?

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This is a popular question that many parents wonder. Read on for the pros and cons of each and a list of reasons why and when you should choose one over the other.

You know that one of the secrets to getting your child to love reading is to introduce him to lots of great books. Some books are perfect for reading aloud by the parent or child, and other books are chosen for your child to read alone. Families who prioritize reading can easily go through hundreds of different titles a year! How do they choose to acquire these books? The question of whether to buy books for children or borrow them from the library is an important one to consider so you can make sure you keep the home bookshelves stocked in a way that works for you.

Why and when you should borrow books from the library:

Children can go through a lot of books over the course of their youth and book prices have steadily been on the rise. Kids grow out of books, and you may have spent money on books that your child doesn’t even like.  Do that a few times and it will either lead to bookshelves crammed with options that your child isn’t reading, or trips back to the bookstore to attempt a return before the “14 day return policy” window closes.

The time to borrow books from the library is when you are doing any of the following in building your child’s reading arsenal:

  • Trying out a new series to see if your child will want to read the rest
  • Stocking up with lots of books to read over a stay-cation
  • Guessing what type of books will interest your child
  • Looking for lots of books around a central theme that you will only read at a certain time of year, like Halloween
  • When you want to visit the library as a family outing and take advantage of the many opportunities they offer (especially on an extra hot/snowy/rainy day) such as read alouds and author visits
  • When you are looking for the help of a knowledgeable librarian to give you guidance on titles that will interest your child
  • Money is tight but you don’t want that to affect the choices your child has in reading material

Get my FREE cheat sheet here to share with friends and family - Dr. Carroll’s Top 10 List: Should I Buy or Borrow Books for my Child? 10 considerations before you decide. 

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Why and when you should buy books:

Owning books can be so wonderful though, right? That new book smell, rereading old favorites again and again, and the easy way Amazon delivers them right to your doorstep.  Plus, we all feel relieved about not having to worry if the cover gets creased or your child spills juice on the pages. Plus, borrowed books must be returned, on time or there will be late fees - and sometimes it’s just so hard to get back to the library before the due date.

Owning books can bring a certain pleasure that borrowing books doesn’t. When a child sees the books he has read on his bookshelf, it brings a sense of accomplishment and pride. He can go back to the ones he loves again and again (a good practice to improve fluency!) knowing they will always be there. There is also joy in collecting a series – finding that next title can be a fun hunt!

The time to buy books is when any of the following is true for your family:

  • You are collecting classic books that are timeless, and your child will want to read throughout the years
  • You have several children that the book may be appropriate for, and/or the book can be passed down to younger siblings
  • You want to stock up on books to fill your child’s shelves as you build a reader-friendly home
  • Your child is invested in a series and gets satisfaction out of collecting the new titles and seeing what he has read
  • You look forward to giving the books away to family members or other parents once your child has finished with them
  • Your child is reading chapter books and likes to write her thoughts, ideas or questions in the margins
  • You are unable to find the book title your child really wants to read at the library

There is one way you can have (some of) the best of both worlds – search for used books at libraries, garage sales, school fairs and flea markets. Usually you can get books for 25 cents to $2.00 – a fraction of what you would pay for them new. They may be a little torn, worn or marked up, but that just gives them character – You know they were well-loved before you brought them home.

Do you like to buy or borrow books? Email me at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. and let me know how your family chooses to build your collection.

Get my FREE cheat sheet here to share with friends and family - Dr. Carroll’s Top 10 List: Should I Buy or Borrow Books for my Child? 10 considerations before you decide. 

Access Now >>

Read 536 times Last modified on Sunday, 15 January 2017 21:10

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