A reading space (or Library as it is sometimes referred to) provides an area for young children to independently examine books and literacy materials. In addition to listening to stories read aloud, children are learning a great deal about language, and expanding their vocabulary in this very important learning space.
Below you can find some great Library & Reading Spaces shared by our readers as well as suggested items to add to your space based on the ages you care for.
This lovely reading space created by Tamara Gayle of Elemeno Preschool invites children to sit and read their favorite books with it's soft pillows and sheltered canopy.
Choosing a space for your books
A reading area should be located in a quiet area, preferably from other busy play (Construction & Gross Motor areas). A well lit area is best with a lot of a natural light.
This reading area belongs to Cheryl Vargas of Cherie's Learning Tree this lovely well lit area includes a variety of options for storing books. Her puppet area encourages young children to re-tell stories they've heard.
Making the area inviting
A special seating area will draw children to this area. You can include items such as child sized chairs, cushions, or decorative pillows. A large cardboard box with comfy pillows inside, or a special canopy can help provide definition for this space as well. A comfortable rug, stuffed animals (especially those depicting familiar characters from books) are welcome addition to make this space more inviting.
Adrienne from Seed Sprout and Bloom Childcare provides such a comfy place for sitting down to read. I like she transformed this corner into a cozy reading space by using pillows and an Infant Mattress.
The LOVA Leaf Canopy from IKEA is also a great touch.
If space and budget allow, a bookshelf that allows books to be stored front facing is optimal. Otherwise, you can utilize a small bookshelf and place the books inside so they are standing with the covers facing out.
Rather than placing ALL of your books in your reading space, you should put out a small assortment and rotate them throughout the month. Make sure that you always provide a variety that all ages can enjoy (board books along with picture books), and include books that reflect a variety of diverse cultures, ages, animals and real images.
This cozy reading "Hideaway" belongs to Nikkolette Washington ofNik-Nak's Daycare The front facing bookshelf allows children to easily select books. She made this an inviting space by including comfy cushions, and flooring.
More than just books...
This space can be used to house more than just books. You may also want to place other items that encourage literacy and re-telling of stories in this space such as: Puppets, Puzzles, Photo Albums, and felt stories. Books on tape/CD are also great for this space. In addition to stories children love to hear familiar sounds. You can also include sounds of nature, or even record yourself (or encourage parents to create recordings) singing familiar songs, or reading familiar stories.
It's important for children to have access to different types of literacy materials.
I love how Tara of Little Learners Daycare and Preschool has incorporated a
special place in her Reading area for Audio Books.
Tips for small spaces
It is not necessary to dedicate a huge amount of space to any learning space. If you are short on a book storage consider placing a small basket of books next to a comfortable chair in your living room, or mounting picture ledge shelving or other narrow mounted shelving vertically on your wall.
Cheri Langlois used front facing picture ledges from IKEA to create her Library Area. The bright Artwork and Lighting make this look like a Gallery. What a fun way to showcase books!
A portable cart, like this one Core Stoski created is a great option
if you are short on space!
This fun Library area belongs to Nicki of Mrs. B's Childcare. I love the pop of color she added to her book holders. These front facing holders make great use of narrow spaces. They also allow you to take advantage of your vertical spaces. You can store your "For big hands only" books up high, and your Board books in the lowest Shelf.
Angie from The Thoughtful Spot Daycare has built her reading area into this cozy closet. This space is a great little getaway from the busy action.
You don't need a huge amount of space to create a warm and welcoming reading area. This cozy reading area belongs to Babyzone Daycare. She provides the children with comfy pillows and accessible front facing books.
This reading space belongs to Marlisa from All about Kids. The front facing gutter shelving allows the books to be accessible to young children with minimal space being used. In addition to being adorable-The alphabet tree is a wonderful way to include literacy in this space.
I think these benches at Mrs. Felecia's Playhouse reading area are so adorable! What a fun place to sit and read with a friend.
Sheena Wheeler of Building Blocks Family Childcare has so many home-like touches in her Library Space. I love the little sofa and chair set and the side table. She also incorporates the Children's Artwork and Photos in this space-another great way to encourage Language opportunities.
Amanda of Tiny Tots Preschool set up this lovely reading corner in her space. Her front facing picture ledges and IKEA MYSIG canopy showcase the importance of books in this space. Her cozy rug, and her FJÄDERMOLN Cloud pillows make this a cozy space for curling up with a good book.
A place for reading aloud
Reading aloud to children is very important. Make sure you carve out some time in your day to read to your group, or individually to children. Make sure you have a comfortable spot in your space to sit and support your back during this time. You can promote parent participation by encouraging families to come and read a special story to the group.
Veronica Green of Ronnie's Preschool has this overstuffed chair in her space which provides a comfortable spot for reading to children.
Suggested items to add to your Reading Space
More places for books:
Be sure to encourage literacy throughout your space by including books in other learning spaces. For example in your:
Construction Area: Add books that show read photos of buildings, tools, etc.
Dramatic Play: Include cookbooks, Food Magazines, Maps, etc.
Science Area: Books depicting real images of animals, and nature
Heather from Heather's Helping Hands Childcare included books about tools and vehicles in her Construction and Transportation area.
Candasa Crumb made a space for reading outside! She made this reading space out of a converted crib.She replaced all of the weight bearing screws with 3 inch screws, took out the base, added three 2 x 4s across the width of the seating area, then topped it with 1/2 inch plywood and a fluffy stuffed comforter that easily fits in the washer and dryer.
Share your learning space!
Do you have a reading space photo to share? Join our FB group to share photos of your learning spaces with other early childhood educators.
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