If you follow any Instagram moms, the chances are that you’ve heard a little something about toy rotations. This Montessori-inspired play technique centers around less mess and more constructive play, tailoring toy collections based on everything from function (balls, instruments, etc.) through to color. As well as being incredibly educational, this is a focus that keeps toys fun and fresh, enabling a brand-new play setup at least every few days that keeps mom and child feeling sane and having fun.
But, have you ever considered applying this same playtime outlook to your child’s bookshelves? While less commonly used, book rotations are also doing the rounds, and jumping on this merry-go-round alongside your rotating toy efforts can really help to broaden your child’s reading horizons. The rules are quite simple, and include –
- Rotating books at least once a week (preferably on the same day)
- Keeping out-of-rotation books out of reach
- Grouping books in terms of common themes (shapes/friendship/numbers/etc.)
Once you’ve got these basic underhand, you and your children can start enjoying the following undeniable benefits.
# 1 – Creating a positive routine
As mentioned, book rotations should be implemented on the same day each week as this helps to create a reliable routine that kids can look forward to. For young children, especially, this routine is fundamental for creating positive habits and providing structure. In fact, your kids may come to love the structure of switching out books so much that they remind you that it’s a new book day! This is a fantastic way to give your kids something to look forward to and can be especially helpful with children who struggle with forgetfulness, anxiety, or similar.
# 2 – Avoiding overstimulation
When kids look at a crowded bookshelf, overstimulation isn’t unusual. This is especially a problem for children experiencing ADHD, where concentration is directly affected under highly stimulating circumstances, but most young children will feel a sense of overwhelm when they look at stacks of books upon books. As well as hyping them up way more than you want to before a reading session, this alone makes it more likely that they’ll walk away instead of making positive reading decisions, leaving a range of reading-specific benefits largely off the table including –
- Listening skills
- Cognitive development
- Expanded vocabulary
- And more
This is terrible news, and it is something that you should be able to offset altogether with a book rotation that focuses on no more than ten books at a time. If your child especially struggles with decision making, you may even want to narrow that focus down to five books rotated twice a week instead, providing an even more tailored selection that, as well as helping to clear the dreaded clutter of a kid’s bedroom, makes it more likely that they’ll take their pick and settle down for a decent reading session.
# 3 – Increasing excitement to learn
If your child has access to all of their books all of the time, then the chances are that they’re going to get bored quite quickly. This can create apathy towards reading that’s most definitely not a good sign and, worse, it could leave children altogether uninterested in learning further reading skills. After all, why would they bother when they’ve already read those same books fifty times?
In reality, though, the development of reading skills is entirely dependent on your child getting into a regular reading routine, and their skills will soon start to slip if they keep on turning their nose up at their reading selections. To save yourself from having to buy a brand new book every time your child gets restless, it’s worth implementing a book rotation with education in mind, especially those that center around categories such as shapes, colors, and numbers. This will keep things fresh making it easier to implement further fun teaching techniques like those found in this article, ‘What are fun ways to teach reading: 7 creative ideas.’ This, in turn, can help your child to love learning all about how to read, and can really encourage a love of books that they keep close for the rest of their lives. This is invaluable for a wide range of educational benefits, even outside of the reading-specific sphere, and all you have to do to make it happen is put some of their books in storage and sit back to watch them shine!
# 4 – Providing you with educational oversight
Speaking of sitting back to watch your child’s reading shine, book rotations are also a fantastic technique for providing you with the oversight necessary to tailor ongoing reading education towards any problem areas. This level of educational intricacy can be incredibly difficult across a complete book selection when a child could easily overlook a book that they find challenging without busy moms even noticing. By comparison, smaller book selections leave way less space to hide, and you’ll be able to see straight away whether there are any books that your child avoids. Then, you can encourage them to read that material out loud with you, taking the time to spot where they trip up, and actively working to enhance their understanding in those problem areas. This is a fantastic way to encourage proficient reading and to ensure that your child doesn’t build problems in their head to such an extent that they stop picking up books and let their existing reading progress suffer as a result.
# 5 – Keeping all books in a better condition
It’s no secret that kids can be rough with books, or any toy for that matter. As any parent knows, this can result in ripped or missing pages, crayons scribbling out crucial words, or just generally bad appearances that stop kids from wanting to pick up any books in the first place. It’s a self-perpetuating and damaging cycle, and it’s just another thing that a regular book rotation might help you to tackle.
Admittedly, there’s no guarantee that switching books around more regularly will altogether save them from any damage, but it can drastically reduce the risks. Most notably, having books on display for a shorter period each time means that there’s a far smaller window in which they could be damaged, and this alone can help to save them from the risks. What’s more, the novelty of what feels like a new book means that your child is way less likely to take that object for granted and destroy it as a result. Instead, the hope is that the temptation of shiny new books sees them sitting down and concentrating on the story instead of approaching with destruction in mind.