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The care and feeding of books

Updated: May 6, 2021

Reading tip for May

When you love a book, you read it again and again. You share it with friends. Sometimes, you fold down corners of pages or underline favorite passages. And usually, this book looks like a favorite because of the worn out cover, the bent pages, the cracked binding. Well, kids' favorites get the same kind of wear and tear.

However, there are practical ways to give children the experience they should have in handling books without worrying too much about accidents or damage.

When children have free access to books, it helps them learn about how books and print work and makes them into book-lovers. With the books at hand, they are more apt to use them in their dramatic play. These experiences enrich play and help to prepare the children for the later tasks of learning to read and write.

  • Board books are wonderful for infants and toddlers. They have stiff plastic-coat­ed pages that are just about impossible to tear. If food spills on them, you just have to wipe them off with a damp cloth. Even teeth marks don't show up too much!

  • Once children are past this early stage, you can teach them how to hold books on their laps or at the table. You can show them how to turn the pages care­fully, one at a time, holding the page in the corner.

  • Sometimes, however, no matter how careful the chil­dren try to be, there will be accidents. If pages get torn, you can get out the tape. If young artists use their crayons or pencils on books, you can explain why we don't do this and make sure that there is plen­ty of drawing paper available instead.

You may find that some books are not very well bound so that eventually they begin to fall apart. Even hardback books will start to look a little worn. We have to remember, though, that signs of wear are also signs of love. A book that's in perfect shape because it's never been handled is a wasted book!

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