How Many Readers do you purchase for each child?

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  • ServingwithJoy

    Hello Everyone! We are finally ordering books (yay!) but I am in a quandary about something…

    We all love reading – especially historical fiction – and I have always purchased additional books that each child is expected to read on thier own. But now that I have 4 readers in the family, this is getting expensive!! We do use our library, but there are a lot of great books with Christian perspective that our library will not carry.

    So my question is: What is a reasonable number of independent reading books to purchase per child? I am way out of whack here – my list is up to 200 now… so please feel free to offer your real opinion and advice!


    We have the same problem with our library…and my DC seem to be drawn to the twaddle-ish books.  We currently have 3 bookshelves full of readers…and a whole bookcase of picture books.  I try to buy as much as I can at thrift stores, but the selection there is about the same as the library.  I’ve had to order many of the Christian books from Amazon or RR, which does get expensive!  I try to place an order every month or two so we’re not spending much each paycheck.  Amazon has the 4-for-3 promotion and free shipping at $24, so that helps.   Some books I’ve found on RR much cheaper, so I always compare their prices.  

    I have not idea what a “reasonable” amount would be…I’m pretty sure we’ll surpass that at some point.  As long as I can figure out how to fit more bookcases in the house.  Embarassed  I see it as an investment.  We spend $30-40 on fast food (for example), so I don’t think it’s unreasonable to spend that same amount on books!


    Hey Holly – what is RR?

    And thank you for making me feel a little better about this :). I have to admit that since my kids are LOVING learning, maybe all those books are just worth it?! We are working on bookshelf #4.

    Hmmm…I like your fast food analogy, too. I think if I broke this up monthly it might be a little more workable for us. I have been just stocking up at the beginning of the year and it is pretty tough to knock out all of those book purchases at one time. And then my kids end up reading them way ahead of ‘schedule’.

    Revising my Amazon list…. :).


    I really don’t like to use the library because I am horrible at returning books!  I once had a reciept for late fees that was literlly as tall as me!  The librarians were teasing me, and for a minute the girl thought the printer had malfunctioned! lol  Anyway, I totally agree with Holly.  I have all the books I want saved on amazon and ebay, and each month I purchase a few.  I rarely pay more than a couple of dollars for a book.  A more recent discovery of mine is Goodwill!  Paperbacks are 8/$1 and hardcovers are 3/$1!  I spent $10 on books in two trips and it required us to buy a new book shelf…can’t beat that!  And all of them were straight off the SCM list, too-no twaddle! I’ve also been finding a lot of good ones at estate sales lately.  They’re usually about $1/each, but I ask if they’ll take .50 cents each, and they almost always say yes.


    I have a terrible time with the library as well, often with fees over $50.  I finally decided buying is the way to go for us.  We use to fine the best price on used books.  HTH 🙂


    One of my favorite quotes:

    When I have a little money, I buy books. If there is any left over, I buy food and clothes. Erasmus

    I’m over 15,000 and not close to stopping yet.


    Boy, have I found my people or what?! So instead of giving up the books I should give up the guilt? I think I could get on board with that!

    As long as my house doesn’t start to look like ‘hoarders’….

    We have actually considered a seperate building on our property as a little reading cabin. Is that crazy?

    Anyway, I think my solution looks to be keeping my booklist, but purchasing monthly and looking around at thrift stores and garage sales, too. I guess where other people would put their ‘entertainment’ budget, we will put ‘book budget’!

    Happy, happy, happy….;0).


    I guess what I wonder is what you mean by readers? Are you talking books for children who are still not proficient readers, meaning somewhere before they could tackle a chapter book like Charlotte’s Web? Or do you simply mean books for each child to read for ‘literature’ on their own no matter their age?

    My answer is different for each. For those still working on becoming proficient in the reading department we start with Now I’m Reading sets by Nora Gaydos. Then we move them up to the hardbound readers from All About Spelling/All About Reading (which I’ve aquired over the years when they first came out at a discount). I also have a few of the Pathway Readers which are hardbound and come in every reading level from very beginning to much older. I have a few elementary level ones but have not felt the need to get a full set. Once my kids can read a chapter book easily they don’t need these.

    Now, my oldest only had the Now I’m Reading books, then we just worked slowly on slightly harder picture books until she was ready for chapter books around 6.5-7.

    My 7 and 8 year olds just this week jumped from readers to trying a Magic Tree House chapter book on their own and are doing well. Not the highest quality of literature, but they fit the easy chapter book level and the kids love the history slant.

    My 5 year old son taught himself to read fluently at age 3. He can read from the scriptures with few stumbles, and tackles chapter books at will. Had very little to do with me and my teaching!

    So my recommendation for the learning to read fluent stage is to invest in a series or two of good readers like Now I’m Reading, All About Reading readers, and Pathway Readers. Each child can use these when they are ready and when they hit fluency they jump to good chapter books.

    For all those fluently reading children we invest in a few new-to-us books per child per year (I’ve got baby #8 coming this summer). In this way we’ve build a home library the younger children benefit from, so I am beginning to find I don’t have any I really want to buy for the younger end of chapter books. We have a lot of quality picture books too. My kids think it is a treat to go to Half Price Books to each choose a title (which we do about twice a year).

    And we’re best friends with the library and interlibrary loan. We go every Saturday just about and return books as needed (our library has a drive thru to pick up and return books even, so we can do it on the way to errands!).

    Good luck! We also love Kindles and have a large library on there, from free through Project Gutenberg to Yesterday’s Classics and some of the Heritage History sets. What we have on one Kindle can be put on up to 6 devices.


    RR is Rainbow Resource.  I’ve noticed many books are cheaper there than Amazon, especially homeschool related books.  I just bought Then and Now Bible Maps for $6 less than Amazon’s price.

    As far as bookshelves, we have 4 tall ones and 2 shorter ones.  However, we have boxes and boxes of books in our garage still unpacked!  DH is a pastor, so that accounts for a lot of our books as well…I think they are just as bad as homeschoolers with books!


    Better World Books usually has the books I am looking for and they are pretty inexpensive. Free shipping, too! They’re used, but they end up getting a lot more used in my house so I’m fine with that 🙂


    @Tristan – Sorry for the confusing word choice there. I meant literature or chapter books for the kids. I can generally find tons of beginning reading books at the library so I don’t purchase too many of those…just the Rod & Staff or Pathway readers for daily practice and then we supplement with library books.

    The historical fiction, biographies, and general fiction books are what the bulk of our book budget goes towards. And we love these books and have a hard time finding some of the older authors or the ones with a distinctly Christian worldview at our ‘public’ library. Don’t even get me started on that!

    Thank you for all the recommendations on book sources! I have stuck with Amazon in the past but I would much rather use a Christian company if I can find my books there reasonably. I buy used, but it still adds up!


    Since you mentioned Christain companies… here’s another place to look for books. Some of the ladies who run private libaries have book sales! I think it’s awfully nice to be able to support them and get some books at the same time. Living Books Library updates their book sale page the first monday of the month. And Robin at Children’s Legacy Library did a book sale for her library recently, I couldn’t get the link to work on the website. Anna also has a used bookshop. I thought there also were a couple of moms here that had a bookshop that if you started your Amazon sale through their shop they recieved a percentage of the sale. Not sure exactly how that works, I haven’t done it myself. Anyway, few more places to look for books. (P.S. We have a separate budget catagory for “books” aside from what we spend on homeschooling. Smile.)


    Thank you, morgrace. Yes we do have book sales occasionally. That is the main way we fund our libraries. Emily Cottrill at Living Books Library will update her sale tomorrow (Monday) and is having a sale to boot! I don’t have anything up on my sale page right now but I plan to soon and will post a notice here.

    ServingwithJoy, it is absolutely acceptable to have a huge home library and build a reading cabin! We had planned to build a cabin on our property for the library before we moved to house with a finished apartment in th basement which now houses the library. And who knows… Maybe if you get that building finished and filled with books, you may open a lending library of your own. 😉


    Thank you, morgrace! I just listed about 25 more books on my sale page tonight, if you want to take a look:

    Robin, I have a goal of opening a library of living books once my children are grown and our library has expanded, so I enjoy reading about the ways in which you run yours. I’d love for all the books that I’ve collected over the years to be used by many more children (and my grandchildren, too, Lord-willing!)



    I also have many books for sale.  You can find them by clicking on “Books for Sale” here….


    I’m in the process of updating the list.




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