One of the most popular recent trends in classrooms is the class library. A class library is suitable for students from pre-kindergarten to seniors, and can contain books from a multitude of reading levels and topics. Once a teacher has built a classroom library collection, it is important to then create a comfortable and inviting reading space. This can be done both with style and little out of pocket expense, creating a space in which students will clamour for the chance to read.
Acquire bookshelves for the reading corner. These may be provided by the school, or they may need to be purchased. Good places to find inexpensive book cases include garage sales, estate sales, craigslist.org and classified advertisements.
Build a collection of library books. Books can be purchased inexpensively at garage sales, discount book outlets, through Scholastic publishing and at book fairs.
Create a check out system for the books. This could be as simple as a notebook where students sign out books, or as elaborate as a real library with cards and pockets pasted into every book cover. Regardless of preference, it is important to have a method of tracking books that are borrowed to insure they are returned upon completion.
Cover up the classroom floor. Many schools have dingy carpet or tile covered in footprints and dirt. Create a place where students will want to sit by finding a large area rug or carpet squares to put down on the floor.
Purchase large floor cushions for students to sit and lie on while reading. Floor cushions can be bought from home stores or outdoor furniture stores, or you can make them at home using fabric and stuffing.
Acquire at least one piece of comfortable furniture, such as a used couch or armchair that feels set apart from the classroom desks. This will designate the reading corner as a special privilege, making kids excited to read a book in it.
Hang posters or pictures on the wall. Avoid posters that are too busy or bright, as they will be distracting. Choose prints that will allow the students to associate reading with a soothing activity.
Play quiet, ambient music when students are reading. This could be a classical music CD, modern electronica or any soothing, not fast-paced music without words. Music will help students focus and feel at ease when reading.
If the reading corner is for older students, hang a poster that suggests tips for close and attentive reading. It may also be beneficial to post a list of rules for the reading corner, such as no napping, treating the books kindly and no talking.
Avoid putting any enclosed structure in a reading corner, as this could be an invitation for kids to nap instead of read.
Tips and warnings
- If the reading corner is for older students, hang a poster that suggests tips for close and attentive reading. It may also be beneficial to post a list of rules for the reading corner, such as no napping, treating the books kindly and no talking.
- Avoid putting any enclosed structure in a reading corner, as this could be an invitation for kids to nap instead of read.