Teaching Your Kids How to Treat Books

Guest Post by Jodie of Growing Book by Book

Whether we have your own personal library or we utilize the public library, we want our kids to treat the books with respect. Teaching kids to respect books can be fun and empowering. Lets take a look at a few ideas for maintaining a book store quality library.

1. Matching Books to Kids

Think about the durability of the books you are allowing kids to utilize. Board books have nice strong and sturdy pages and work well with the under 2 crowd. Little hands can easily turn pages without having tears. Though lift-the-flap books and pop-up books are appealing to the little ones, I strongly recommend waiting until your child can control their impulse to lift those inviting little pieces right off the book. Nothing is harder than repairing a pop-up book.

2. Book Bags and Baskets

When transporting books to and from the library or school, it’s important that they travel in a durable bag. Canvas bags work well and can be decorated to your child’s taste. Once books on loan are brought into the house or classroom, I like to keep them in their own separate basket or container. It makes finding them to return a whole lot easier.

3. Organization and Storage

Let your child help in deciding how books will be organized and stored. This helps to develop ownership of the materials which in turns ups the respect value. Your child may decide that all the Arthur books are going to go in a basket or all the hardcovers will go on the bookshelf in their room. Children can even make their own labels for book baskets or shelves. Categorizing books not only is helping to teach organization, but is a literacy skill that will come in handy too.

4. Book Repair

No matter how careful kids are, books will tear. Have a special spot for books that have been damaged. I like to utilize a book ambulance. Then, when you have time, the books can travel to the book hospital to be repaired. Again, it’s important to let kids help with the book repair to build their skills in taking care of books.


So, there you have four easy ways to help teach kids how to treat books. Do you do anything in your family to promote proper book handling skills? We’d love to hear your ideas.


Jodie Rodriguez is a National Board Certified teacher, reading specialist and administrator with over 17 years of experience. She currently stays at home with her two young sons (22 months and 5 months). Her newest adventure is the creation of the Growing Book by Book blog dedicated to helping caregivers nurture young readers.


  1. My first son was a book ripper (destroyer!) and it broke my heart! I’m addicted to books! I love that book ambulance idea! I pinned that to my book board!

    1. My 22 month old has also gone through phases of wanting to rip books especially lift-the-flaps. I’ve found that I’ve had to put those type of books away for awhile. Glad you found the book ambulance idea helpful. I used it in my classroom a lot.

  2. Great post! I would add that it is usually necessary to teach young ones how to hold and carry books properly (hug to chest when walking with a book, for example) For older children, they should be taught not to write in books they do not own, and to use a bookmark to hold their place rather than folding over the corner. I have many free printable bookmarks on my blog if would like to take a peek!

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