Is It Better To Buy Or Borrow Learning To Read Books?

Local Libraries

A boy with his own library
A boy with his own library

You can sign up to your local library for free, at least in the UK.  In fact you can normally sign up your children (perhaps acting as their "guarantor").  Libraries should be, and normally are, places of wonder for children and it's always worth taking them.  Even if you buy all your first reading books and money is no object, then I would still suggest occasionally taking your children to the library just for the experience of borrowing and returning books.

For the rest of us, the library is also a great way to complement the books we have bought, particularly over the summer holidays when children aren't bringing home learning to read books from school.  Some libraries might have a reading challenge, with stickers or other rewards - this is a great extra motivator for children to do some reading over the summer.

Library Limitations

The library is a nice place to read, but perhaps not out loud!
The library is a nice place to read, but perhaps not out loud!

So should you never buy a book?  Well it is an option, but just like books for adults, there are limitations when borrowing first reading books for from the library:
  • The choice isn't always great.  Remember that you need to get a book at the right book band and even a library will only have so many at that book band.
  • You can't always read the books in sequence.  Some books have a story order, or sometimes it's interesting to go from one book to another as they have a theme.  This is harder when you are looking at library books.
  • The books can be a bit tatty at times - not the end of the world but it's also nice to hold a nice new book.
  • If your child wants to read a particular book again this isn't always possible (if you've returned it and it isn't available)
  • Plus it's nice to go to the library occasionally but it can be a bit much every weekend.

Buying Books

What about buying learning to read books? Well this has pros and cons:
  • It is more expensive ( vs. free at the library!)
  • It's nice to have a new book
  • You can get a pack of books with a theme.  This is useful for you as well, as the books often help you teach children and this can be done consistently
  • Books for learning to read can last a long time so you can always use them with your other children, sell them (people tend to snap them up second hand), or give them to your children's school when you've finished with them.

Buy or Borrow?

So what's the best?  Well I've found a mixture - I've bought some books, and I've enjoyed using them with my son and will look forward to using them with my daughter.  It's nice to have books we can take on holiday with us and not worry about return dates or misplacing it somewhere in the house.

I also loved using the library with my son, especially when they rand the reading challenge.  He loved it as well, picking his books and taking them to the scanner to borrow them / return them.

So, personally I would recommend a buying some and borrowing others.  


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