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Monday, May 9, 2011

Book Ledges

I was born to be an English teacher. I love books. I think they're so beautiful. Especially picture books. Before I became a stay-at-home mom, my career aspiration was to be a Literacy Specialist. I was taking evening classes to get my endorsement. One of the things I learned was that kids are enticed to read when they can see books. (Other concepts in the curriculum were more advanced - it wasn't all obvious stuff.) We put up gutters around the walls in our classrooms so we could prop books up where kids could actually see the fronts of them. It worked! My kids that year really loved to read. And they thought I was wacko for nailing gutters to the walls. But the reading thing, that was important.

I think having the books facing out is especially important for the little kids. Penny can pick out the book she wants based on the spine, but it's so much nicer to be able to see the whole book. Plus, in a playroom, books are all the decoration you need! They're gorgeous! And kids have images from advertisements, TV, giant toys. . . so much stuff pulling at their attention. I wanted to give their books a fair shot at getting used as much as the big, colorful toys.

I am so lucky to have a father who can build stuff. I draw what I want it to look like, and he makes it happen. I based these book ledges on some Pottery Barn Kids magazine racks. Each ledge is an eight-foot by 5 1/2 inch shelf for the back, and another shelf that's 3 1/2 inches deep nailed to it. The support pieces have 1/2 inch holes drilled through them to hold the dowels up.

Here's how you know my daughter is being raised by a Literacy Specialist. She likes to flip through books and "read" them, making up the stories as she goes. This morning she picked up an Alice in Wonderland book, and started out, "Once upon a time, a princess named Eric Carle. . ." Okay, if you don't have toddlers you might not know it, but Eric Carle is one of the best picture book authors/illustrators in the world - he did The Very Hungry Caterpillar.

More to come soon! We finished the dining room over the weekend - I'll give you a hint - the walls are teal!