Thursday, June 30, 2011

Building a Homeschool Library

As Avlyn and I work on cementing phonics concepts this summer, I started thinking about the books I have here at home. I am a self-confessed book addict, but I also like to sell or trade books for new ones. I usually sell at least 30 books in each yard sale we have, if for no other reason than to make room for new books. I hold on to the classics, but I will sell books that my kids outgrow. Unfortunately, I haven't been able to replace books like I used to because I haven't been able to find any good ones at discounted prices. This means that my home library has started to dwindle.

We are actively working through Phonics Pathways by Dolores G. Hiskes.

As her phonics skills become more concrete, I want to have a large selection of books available for her to read. Our curriculum for next year came with 8-10 books, but we don't pick up with those until halfway through the year, and the majority of them are a second grade level and not first. One thing I worry about is making sure my kids stay on the level they need to be on for reading. If, for some reason, she needs to go to public school, I don't want her getting put behind simply because her reading level isn't where the school system dictates.

For that reason, I'm constantly looking for lists or ideas that let me know the best resources to use in our homeschool. I found this web page on leveled book lists. I think this is a great resource for finding age or grade-level appropriate books to build your homeschool library. I may not buy all the books, but I plan on checking out quite a few from the library and have a rotating library this year. If she has a few that she really loves, I'll make sure to buy them and include them in our library.

If you're unsure how to choose age-appropriate books, here's an idea on how to understand reading levels. Some books make it easy and list the reading level as K-1, 2-3, etc... Others make it a little more difficult by putting decimal numbers on the back or spine of the book. It's not uncommon to go to the library and see a book listed as a 2.4, 1.8 etc.. reading level. When reading these types of levels remember that the first number is the grade level and the second number is the month in that grade level. For example, a book listed as 1.3 reading level is suitable for a child in first grade who has completed the first three months of first grade. Hope this helps some. Happy homeschooling!

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