“Readers are leaders.” Have you heard that before? Reading is an exceptionally important skill in everyday life; not an hour goes by where you have to read something. For children, reading is a wealth of knowledge about the world around them. That is why books are a coveted resource in the Montessori classroom. But children need more exposure to books than a day in the classroom, so here is how to create an enticing reading environment at home.
Setting Up a Reading Environment the Montessori Way
Creating a Montessori-inspired reading space in your home does not have to be difficult or a major investment. Keep in mind the principles of a Prepared Environment when planning out your child’s home library. In doing so, you will offer a space where your child eagerly sits down to read the book of their choice.
Here are some items you will need to create an enticing reading environment at home:
Accessible, Child-Sized Shelving
Adult libraries can be a little intimidating for children. The shelves loom over them, and the neatly arranged stacks of books can be difficult to see and read. Plus, how can a child reach for and return a book to its proper place in that situation? They can’t. That is why you need to make your child’s reading space as inviting and accessible as possible.
Purchasing a child-sized bookshelf that allows you to set the books up in a forward-facing position is best. Not only will your child be able to see every book that is available, they can also fetch the book they want on their own.
The shelving does not have to be large or expensive. Wooden shelves or even a wicker basket on the floor is enough. The idea is to put the books on display. Also, you do not need a lot of books. 3 books per row (around 8-10 books) is plenty for a younger child who is just beginning to read.
If the book nook looks austere, who is going to want to use it? Certainly not a child. Therefore, the next step to making an enticing reading space is to add comfortable seating. Floor cushions, child-sized Adirondack chairs, a smaller rocker, and soft carpeting are all wonderful choices. If you want to get creative, have your child help set up an indoor tent or canopy where they can steal away for a few moments while they read.
If the reading space is not in their room, you can set up close to the sofa. That way, everyone can read together, if they wish.
Your child’s reading space should also be visually appealing. An incandescent lamp, plants, educational posters and pictures, or another detail that jazzes up the atmosphere will draw a child in. Plants are wonderful for this purpose, since they create a serene but can also be used for teaching practical life skills at home.
Some parents like to put the bookshelves next to Montessori materials, just in case their child gets inspired to learn after reading.
Use Calm, Neutral Colors
As interesting and aesthetically pleasing as you want the environment to be, you also do not want to create a sense of overwhelm. Make sure the reading environment is placed somewhere away from all the daily commotion that goes on in the home. Avoid creating distractions, so your child can concentrate. Secondly, avoid overly loud colors and designs.
Neutral colors in a serene space is perfect for a reading nook.
Tips For Setting Up a Child’s Home Library
Once you have all the items needed to make your child’s reading space a reality, other questions begin to arise. How often do you need to swap out the books? How do you know the environment is cozy and calm enough?
Check out these tips:
Keep The Book Selection Updated
As mentioned earlier, you do not need hundreds of books available to please your child. Starting out, 5 books may be more than enough. Consider your child’s interests when choosing the topics then arrange the books on the shelf. Observe which books your child selects most often then add in new books of a similar subject every two or three weeks.
You can also add in seasonal books pertaining to holidays and cultural events to keep the selection exciting. Plus, you can use these new books as conversation starters.
Reorganize The Library Regularly
Twice a year, move the library. It doesn’t have to go far from its original position. Maybe you decide to switch the corner where the bookshelf is located or rearrange the seating. Also, listen to your child. Do they like the way the sunlight hits the chair at one angle as opposed to another? Is one side of the room louder than the other? Reconfigure the library to suit their needs while livening up the space.
Older children can also assist you with repositioning the furniture. Be sure to ask their opinion, too.
Now that you know how to create an enticing reading environment at home, it is time to start shopping for some great books. Creating a reading nook for your child is bound to be exciting, and they will have their nose buried in books in no time. Have fun with the process.
Looking for a Montessori school in Philadelphia for your child? Fishtown Montessori has everything you are looking for, including excellent and engaging programs, passionate teachers, and beautiful classrooms. Schedule your virtual tour today or contact us to learn more.