The other day I was really bored. Elliott was fussy (and bored too, I think!) so Michael suggested I take a little break an do something I would typically enjoy, like sort our children’s books (my fellow teachers get me 🤓). Thanks to the collections we both had slowly built for our classrooms, along with books from Michael’s childhood, and gifts, Elliott has already amassed quite the library in his five short months of life so far. After I had been overthinking and over-complicating how to organize our books (typical teacher!), I finally settled on a simple system that I think will serve us well over the years.
Even if this is something that does not excite you, this approach makes it so simple, and takes such little prep, that you can easily (and somewhat enjoyably) implement it in your home today.
1 – First, I pulled out all our books and sorted them into four piles, one for each season. If the book had an obvious seasonal theme, that made it easy, and for the others (generic stories or topics like trucks for example), I just randomly divided them across seasons, or picked the season where I thought we would spend most time exploring that topic.
2 – Next, I put each pile into a bin labelled with the season. To set the books out on the shelf, I’ll pull out the current/upcoming season – winter in this case – and set out the books that work for his current age/interests. That way, I don’t have to worry about also sorting for age, not knowing what might interest him at each stage. For instance, he is only a baby right now, but on top of board books, we like reading him picture books and he loves Pete the Cat (or Michael loves Pete the Cat, anyway). Any books I don’t think he will be interested in for that exact year can stay in the bin for the future.
3 – When putting books away at the end of a season, I will keep any favourites that he loves to re-read on the shelf. I will also put aside any we may wish to donate. This will make room for new books we acquire over the years.
I’m hoping this system keeps things simple yet organized, and provides a way to stir things up to keep reading engaging over the years. I will admit that it also indulges my inner teacher while I’m out of the classroom 😉