11 Ways to Build Your Child’s Home Library Without Breaking the Bank // STUDY SHOWS: MORE BOOKS IN THE HOME MAKES KIDS SMARTER!!


Can a child have too many books? The answer is no according to a study done at the University of Nevada. Having more books in the home makes kids smart. Whether you living on a minimum wage income or are in the high income tax bracket. Or live in the United States or China, illiterate or college graduates, parents can help their children by have books in the home. This 20 year study says that this simple act can increase the level of education their children will attain..

Read this study HERE

For years, educators have thought the strongest predictor of attaining high levels of education was having parents who were highly educated. But, strikingly, this massive study showed that the difference between being raised in a bookless home compared to being raised in a home with a 500-book library has as great an effect on the level of education a child will attain as having parents who are barely literate (3 years of education) compared to having parents who have a university education (15 or 16 years of education). Both factors, having a 500-book library or having university-educated parents, propel a child 3.2 years further in education, on average.

We Need All The Books!!

Anyone who has been to my home knows that I have a love for books. Especially kids books. I have shelves and shelves of book bins in my daycare area along with a Rubbermaid bin of board books. Boxes of chapter books put away for Z when he is older, and each child has 50-100 books in their bedroom at any given time.

But Books Are Too Expensive. Right?

When I read this study back in 2010, we had just moved from a tiny apartment to a more spacious townhouse. Reading this I knew I had to grow my son’s home library. However, even though I had a great job, at $4.99 and up a book, I knew it was going to be a long process. Especially since I was planning on quitting my good paying job to open up my own home daycare.

Thrift Store Snob No More!

During this time I was part of a online forum called BrillKids and was constantly on Amazon or Chapters adding recommended books to my shopping cart. It was starting to get pricey.

One day I met up with another mom from this group who happened to live in a city 30-45 mins away from me. She introduced me to this thrift store in her town that had an amazing used book section. Up until that point I was a bit of a snob when it came to buying stuff used. But when I saw I could get my son books for .10-.75 cents a piece, I got over them not being new pretty quick.

Expanding Our Family Library Without Breaking The Bank

Over the years I have figured out many ways to buy books for my kids and expanded our family library without breaking the bank. Of course their are still times when I will pay full price for specific books. My oldest son loves graphic novels and comic books. He’s not as big of a bookworm like his younger brother and sister are, but he will pick up and read a graphic novel on his own. So in this situation, I have no issues, ordering him full price books off of Amazon.

Why The Library Is Not For Me

Before someone asks, we don’t use our local library often. I am terrible with due dates. I often forget to return books and the late fees we incur get down right embarrassing. One thing I don’t like is to be rushed with a book. I like to go back to a book and have it available to me. So while this is a great for a lot of families, I can’t seem to get my act together.

11 Ways to Build Your Child’s Home Library Without Breaking the Bank

Over the last several years I have found a few ways to expand our home library without breaking the bank, here are a few ways I’ve done so.

1) Hit up your local thrift stores.  

Parents are often shocked what they find on those shelves. I often drool over the Usborne Catalog. I have yet to place an order. Why? Because I have managed to find so many Usborne books at my local thrift stores. Many people go to Usborne parties and feel obligated to buy something. And well, what happens when you don’t really want something? Yep, it lands up at the local thrift store.

What about those Leapfrog Leapster Pen (formally known as Tag Pen) books that retail for $9-$15 a book? Yeah I don’t buy those new anymore either. I can find them at our local Value Village Thrift store for $1.29 a book. Of course you have to have patience, but after a year or two we have a very large collection of these books. The plus is since I have also been able to find these pens for $2-$5 at the thrift stores as well, when we are done with these books, I can bundle them in lots and resell them. I should be able to easily regain what I spent.

2) Garage Sales.

As soon as the snow is mostly melted in my area, we start seeing garage sale signs popping up at the usual corners. This can sometimes be a bookworms paradise. I have picked up full box sets of chapter books for my kids for $5-$10. However be sure to pull each book out and quickly flip through them. A month or two ago I was so excited to find the Little House on the Prairie box set for $5. I was about to go pay when I thought I should check them out. Good thing I did, 2 of the books apparently had something split on them and the pages were are stuck together. Needless to say I left them behind.

A lot of people just want to clear out their kids books and will sell them for .25cents to a few dollars. Know your prices! I have seen people selling books for nearly full price. Or selling a book for $2 that has been widely circulated and can be found every other time at the thrift store for a quarter. However because I’m well aware of the prices of graphic novels, I’m willing to pay up to $5 for some of them.

If you find several books at one garage sale that you want to buy, try haggle down the price a bit. A lot of the time people just want to get rid of stuff as soon as possible.

3) Kijiji and Craigslist.

When shopping on these types of sites I prefer to buy lots of books as opposed to individual books because I have to factor in the cost to drive to pick up. Many homeschoolers clear out their homeschool libraries as their children outgrow them to make more room for age appropriate materials.

Also remember you don’t always have to pay the posted price. Some people post their items for more than they think they can get to give wiggle room for haggling. Just make sure you are being respectful when making an offer. Nothing is more insulting when you’re selling something for $20 and a person offers you $5.

4) Library Book Sales.

Our local library often has books for sale. They are usually withdrawn books, or books donated to the library that are no longer needed. This is a great place to get DK Encyclopedia type books, kids chapter books, picture books, even graphic novels for CHEAP. Where I live they charge .50 cents a book or a reuseable bag full for $5. Be sure to carefully look over the books for water damage and missing pages.

I love getting board books here for my daycare. Lets be honest, my daycare kiddos are all learning how to respect books and are like a pack of wolves a little rough with them. If I have spent $5 on a bag of books and have to throw a few a way from time to time, I can live with that. If I had spent  $5-$15 on that same book, I find that a bit harder to swallow.

5)Hand-Me Downs.

Maybe your mom saved a box or two of your old kid books?  Maybe a friends with older kids is looking to get rid of some of their kids old books they have outgrown.

When I was maybe ten years old, my grandma’s neighbour called her and told her to send us over. Turns out she had several subscriptions to the Archie comic series, and over the years she had boxes and boxes of them. She could no longer read the small print, so she had not renewed her subscription. She wanted to make more room in her apartment for other things and sent us home with hundreds of the comics. Irene may have passed away a few years ago, however her memory lives on, my oldest 2 kiddos are now working through those books she gave me and my brother all those years ago.

6)  Birthdays.

When my kids birthdays come around, friends and family often text or call me to ask what the birthday boy or girl might like. This is the time that I sometimes suggest books that are harder to find in the thrift stores. Or my step daughter often asks for gift cards for Amazon or Chapters, so she can order books she has wanted.

7) Advent Books.

Ok this is more of a suggestion on how to give books to your kids. But that being said, instead of buying those expensive $40 Lego Advent calendars, go to the local thrift store and buy 24 books. If your child is young, look for Christmas theme picture books. Wrap each book up and write a number on it. Each night before bed allow your child to unwrap one book and read it together.

8) Amazon or Chapters Book Market.

This is a good option if your looking for specific books that are a bit pricier. This year we decided to use the curriculum BookShark(the secular version of Sonlight). But the complete kit would have cost me $500+ Canadian with exchange and shipping cost. Instead I ordered the Instruction Guide and went on the Amazon Market and bought used copies of the books for much less. While it was cheaper for me to buy a few of these books new, most were purchased used and I saved $200.

9) Mcdonald’s Kids Meals.

While we try not to eat fast food, I have noticed that instead of getting a toy with your child’s Happy Meal, you now can request a book. That is something that will typically get a lot more use than a dinky plastic toy that will likely land up in the donation bin in a few months.

10)Create books for your child.

Since following the Glenn Doman method of teaching my son to read, I have created hundreds of books for him. This way I can control the content, font size, and positioning of the words and the pictures. You can either do these by hand on cardstock, or create them on Google Drive. I prefer the Google Drive method, because this way I can share them with other parents. My thoughts are if a group of 10 parents each made 10 books, and everyone shared them, each family will land up with 100 books. Many hands make light work. 

I find my son enjoys books about the characters on shows he watches on Netflix. However I find with these books, a lot of the time are why too long. Not to mention they have itty bitty writing. Licensed character books are often easy readers with limited vocabulary and next to no story line. By creating my own books, I can take books he already owns, scan the pictures, and change the story. I can summarize and make a book that’s too long appropriate for him. I can also take those lame readers with no real story and make them more exciting.

If you want to see more about how I create these books easily and cheap, check out my video called “Glenn Doman IAHP Program.Make Materials to Teach Your Child For Cheap”

11) Sell the books your child has outgrown.

Has your last child has outgrown those phonics reader? Their princess storybook collection collecting dust? Sell them and use the money to buy more age appropriate materials.

Of course you’re going to want to keep your kids favourites. Pull those ones out and put them away for their kids. But all the rest sell online, at a garage sale, etc. Clear some room on the old bookshelves and fill the space with age appropriate books that will be used .


Is it important to you for your child to have a large home library? How have you grown your family library?

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