Friday, December 27, 2013

Making a Cozy Reading Area for Your Child

This post is moving to Crunchy Moms on January 12, 2014.  

Link to content posted on Crunchy Moms.  

One of the best ways to encourage reading is access to books coupled with an inviting space to read.
All you need is five things:
  1. Designated area.  The reading area should somehow be a separated space and it should be only used for this one purpose.
  2. Cozy place to sit.  Pillows, chairs, cushions, or blankets are all options.
  3. Inviting books.  Keep the choices age appropriate and fresh by rotating books.  When possible, feature some covers facing out.
  4. Organization.  Keep library books in a special spot or bin.  Group books by type or topic.
  5. Enough light.  Consider adding a reading lamp or even a flashlight.
Here's how these points worked out in practice for my kids.
My daughter's cozy reading spot fosters independent book play.  She has a mini couch right next to the bookshelf and the angle of the bed makes a private nook.  Natalie, who is four, loves to "read" on her own during quiet time.  She recites memorized favorites to her dolls and she invents stories based on the pictures of new library books.  If her window doesn't give enough light, she has a lamp and a flashlight.
In contrast, my two-year-old son's cozy spot is about reading together; over the last year, reading snuggled close to his parents created a love for books.  A blanket on the floor designates the space.  Pillows against the wall and the softness of the blanket make it comfortable, even though we sit on the floor.  Usually, William likes to sit in the reader's lap.  We keep a smaller selection of books available for William because he is younger.  Sometimes we suggest the titles, but most of the time he is excited to hand us his current favorites.
While my children are still very young, these basic principals are all that is needed for a reading place for older children and teens.  A nine year old might like a bean bag chair next to a sunny window, or a teen could use a small upholstered chair with a floor lamp.  A shelf or two of books to call their own in a private and quite place can keep a love of reading alive in an otherwise busy and stressful childhood.

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