Thursday, March 10, 2016

The Great Chapter Book Project

One Friday afternoon, when the girls were home from school an idea popped into my head. And the next day we made it happen. All in one day.

That NEVER happens. Usually an idea pops into my head (one like every day) for something for this house. And I start to get Scott on board. Sometimes it takes a looooong time. But with this one he totally agreed and headed out to Home Depot early on a Saturday morning with the girls. Because it was going to be a family project.

Here's the background.

Anna is a reader. I've never met a reader like her. (well, maybe my brother, Tommy, but that's it) Abigail has had the best example of reading. And so now Abigail is devouring books.

One evening Anna brought some books to the dinner table to give her little sister a book talk. Abigail needed to find a new book to read that night. I love how excited and how serious Anna takes her book talks with her sister. "I think you'd like this one because it would remind you of..." "This one is a little sad so I'm not sure you're ready for it..." On an on.


That of course is not a problem. Books flowing through our house like water. Girls reading, talking about books. Well, it's this mama's dream come true. (although I would add that it's not because I dreamed it. I did everything I could to make it happen... but that's a post for another day)

The problem was the amount of chapter books in our home. We sort of had a decent system. When Anna outgrew a chapter book it went in Abigail's closet for her to someday read. I was afraid that if I packed them up too far away (like the attic) they'd be forgotten. So in the closet in stacks upon stacks they went. Anna kept her treasured books still in her bookcase. Some she's read many many times. She'd let her sister read them, of course, but she still wanted them in her room.

Climbing through the closet and weeding thorough stacks of chapter books to give her sister a book talk was just not working. So I thought, "what if we built a chapter book library in our playroom?"

And we did in one day.

On Friday night (when I got my idea) Scott was at his school for a function so the girls and I (assuming he'd love this idea) started pulling out all of those chapter books that were waiting for Abigail.


At first we put them together by series and then we DRA leveled them (I teach reading) so that when they go on the bookshelf they'd be in order.



It was such a fun night for the girls and I.



Then Abigail drew out our plan so that we could present it to daddy the next morning.


We (meaning Scott and the girls) got the wood.





And then the girls took turns sanding it.



Next it was time for painting. But it was just too cold for the garage.


More book sorting


Sunday morning after Mass we 'moved in'. Happier than Christmas morning for Anna.






Lulu... such a sweet little series for beginners


Mercy Watson, Abigail's first chapter book series from a few years ago.


We decorated the shelves for things we had in our house.


Junie B. Jones... I read every single one of those aloud to both girls when they were around 5.


Now, we really weren't keeping those beautiful hardcover Little House books there. We really just wanted a place for all of our paperback chapter books. And decided to keep special hardcover books in our room bookcases but I had to try them out there.




The Baker, 'Once Upon' Anna loved those! And Grace Lin, Where the Mountain Meets the Moon... swoon!


The One and Only Ivan. (that's another post for another day) but I cried reading that aloud to Abigail. She bought it with her own money she wanted it so much!

Anna really enjoyed this series.


Ramona... you can never go wrong with a Ramona book. And Bless This Mouse is about a mouse family that lives in a Catholic church. Amazing!


Highly, highly recommend these as a read aloud to young girls (around the age of six or seven. Or as a first chapter book (after Mercy Watson)

Sophie Mouse books are charming, simple charming.




It's such a cozy spot for a book talk now.


There's just something about Abigail's anticipation here... wanting to know what her sister recommends next.



A simple idea. A weekend. A family together project. Books. Perfection.


  1. Speechless.
    Simply speechless.
    Love. Love. Love.
    And please tell Anna I'd love to spend an afternoon with her at Barnes and Nobel...
    We could get Starbucks and just browse and look and read ....
    Someday. : )

  2. I love this!! First off the books look so pretty all organized and on display and secondly I am adding to my amazon list for my girls. I see many we've read already but so many fun new books I can't wait to order for my girls!

  3. We have several of the same. Oaks. I have not heard of one and the name has slipped my mind...the mouse family. We have a built in book shelf in our hall and it is wonderful. I love coming up the stairs to see one of the kids sitting on the floor with a book.
    And the little house dolls and covered wagon....I LOVE it!! Where did you find it? One of my favorite book series.
    Happy Friday!!

  4. Love this post so much!!!! :-) We are huge readers here as well as you know ;-) What app did you use? Thanks!



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