When I think about motivating a child to read, one of the first things that comes to mind is creating an environment that is welcoming to reading.
I think every home with children should have some kind of “Book Nook” – a place that invites children to read and makes reading comfortable.
We just made our very own Book Nook in our home, so I wanted to share it with you and wanted to give you some ideas of how you can make one for your kids too! You don’t need a lot of space and don’t need any money if you can reuse or repurpose stuff in your home. All you need is a little time and creativity.
For our Book Nook we used an old twin mattress that we happened to have in our attic (we recently moved and no longer have a guest room) and put it in the corner of my youngest son’s room. I covered the mattress with a white sheet and navy blue blanket that used to be on my son’s rocking chair. I then packed a lot of pillows on the mattress, arranging them so that our whole family can snuggle up comfortably and read together.
Next I got a basket, filled it with some of our favorite books, and put it next to the mattress. A stuffed animal and decorative pillow on top of the mattress and I was done!
We are using our Book Nook every single day. I’ve found that both of my boys are reading more now that they have a place that they love to relax in and that bedtime has become less of a struggle now that we have this little transitional zone to read in before climbing into bed.
Okay, ready to make one of your own? Here’s what you need:
o Pick a spot in your home for your Book Nook. Be mindful of your child… do they tend to read in the living room where there is a lot of activity? Make your Book Nook there. Does your child need quiet and some alone time while reading? Their Book Nook would be better located in their room or a quiet place in your home. We have one Book Nook in our house, although when our kids are older, we may have separate places catered to each of our children’s needs. We will have to see what our kids need as they grow.
o A place for your kids to read comfortably. This may be your child’s bed, a pile of pillows in the corner of a room with a long body pillow, or a mattress like we used. (Old crib mattresses work great for this purpose, take up less room, and are usually pretty easy to find for free.) I love including blankets in book nooks too because I always love to read covered with a blanket.
o Stuffed animals or favorite things to make the space inviting and fun.
o A basket of favorite books.
o Starting at around 3 years old, I would also add writing utensils to the book basket: a spiral notebook or binder with paper, post-it notes, highlighters, and pens. That way, if your child has a thought about their reading, they can immediately jot it down (or you can jot it down for them), and they can stick it right in their book.
Please send me pictures of the Book Nooks you create! I'm eager to see how they turn out and am always looking for new ideas!