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Building a 'Reading Place' at Home

In the secret tents of blankets with flashlights, stuffies, and a few favorite books, children can escape to other lands, friendships, and victories. Most of all, in these simple and whimsical reading places, this is where children fall in love with reading.

When your children need some quiet time, why not let them escape to a special little reading place of their own? And in between the wings of those tents and covers of those books, let them find comfort and adventure - and help them grow their skills as readers.

When children have access to safe, fun reading places, they will discover the joy of reading - and one of the ways Calgary Reads loves to inspire a love of reading at home is to help families create reading places.

How can you create a reading place that draws your child in and has them asking, “One more page?”

First, find an area in your home that would suit a reading place. It could be a closet or a corner that would fit a tent or a nook under your stairs. Ideally, it can be separated from the rest of everyday life but is still connected and accessible. Once you’ve found your spot, it’s time to scout and brainstorm.

The second step is to ponder with your young reader what this reading place could be. Think about the characters and stories they love most, their favorite colors, and what helps them tune out the world and tuck into reading.

Now it’s time to gather your ingredients to help make a reading place that evokes feelings of coziness, curiosity, and connections through materials and layers and love.

It should also feel like a place that is distinctly for pleasure reading.

At Calgary Reads, we always talk about ‘The Three B’s’: books, book storage, and book lighting. A great reading place includes books the readers own and love, and book storage or displays in various forms or heights to invite children to the books and reading. Lighting is an important way to see the words, but also to set the mood and make reading feel like even more of an adventure.

Multiple forms of seating and cushions help children feel comfortable and suit different reading moods. Including small artifacts (i.e. bookends or bookmarks) your child loves will help indicate this is a space for reading. Incorporating artwork created by your child or others that reflects the joy of reading or the characters in the stories can also heighten special reading connections in the space. We also love to bring reading words and storybook quotes to life - writing on the ceiling or the wall - or even the furniture!

Last, it’s always best if a reading place is snug enough for one or two people.

Whatever you and your children create will be special, perfect, and memorable - and draw them into many magical moments. Hopefully, it’s also a place that evolves as their reading preferences change.

Happy reading and placemaking!

Steacy is the CEO of Calgary Reads, an organization changing children’s lives with the magic of reading. The Little Red Reading House is a home dedicated to inspiring special little reading places and family reading. Enjoy a family reading visit or visit the Little Red Reading House website, littleredreading.house, for inspiration and resources on creating reading places at home, including the free Reading Place Playbook activity guide, and more.

Calgary’s Child Magazine © 2021 Calgary’s Child