In our last blog post we examined ways in which early literacy can help learners, both in the classroom and beyond. Considering the benefits of early literacy, it is the responsibility of every teacher to encourage reading and a love of books as much as possible. We have scoured the web for ideas on creating a reading and book friendly classroom, and we hope that these tips will inspire you.
- Floor space is the best for young children, place a carpet in the corner with cushions and beanbags, so that they can be comfortable and move around naturally.
- Keep this reading nook away from the door or high traffic areas, so that students aren’t distracted.
- Make your reading nook next to a window if possible, and ensure that there is natural light available.
- If your space is limited, consider a raised platform where student can sit and read. Not only does this save space, but they are sure to love the idea of their own reading loft!
- Place books in the ground or on low shelves, so that students can reach them easily.
- Place books with their covers facing forward, so that students can browse and pick books easily. Big, bright covers are attractive and encourage exploration. Our Key Links Big Books are perfect for this.
- Group books according to themes, and encourage discussion around these topics. For instance, a few books about pets might encourage even shy readers to participate.
For those teachers in more isolated areas, or who do not have access to a ready supply of books, a reminder that many functional literacy tools can be used to encourage reading. Why not ask kids to bring along an item with writing on it – it can be a milk carton, an empty tin or an old magazine. Literally anything will do! Then discuss the text, and see if you can sound out a few words with beginner readers. Old newspapers can also be useful, if you cut out basic headline words and stick them up in the classroom, then help children to sound them out. Weather maps and cartoon strips can also be used on walls, as images and symbols are a way for many beginner readers to decode and understand a text.
The most important thing to remember is that a classroom full of words and letters will encourage reading in children, and even the smallest quiet space will allow a learner to engage with a text. Remember, our motto is ‘learn to read, read to learn’.
Good luck with organising your reading nook and displaying your books and magazines. Do share your pictures and stories with us, we would love to see how you encourage reading and literacy in your classroom.