What do you do in your home to make reading feel available, accessible and inviting to your kids? There is abundant research showing how important it is for kids to see their parents reading, but I’ve found one other thing that makes a huge difference. In our house, its all about the spaces.
To get lost in a book, you need to feel safe, cozy and comfortable. If you’re trying to get your kid engaged in reading, its you need to think about how they best like to settle in, and then make the books available there. In our house, the most popular spot is “the book nook”. When E8 was 4 and and E5 was tiny, E8 needed a place to escape from his newly mobile sister. We established this spot at the end of the sofa, targeted at him. He had a wall he could pull into place that she could look over, but not cross, and ever since we established it, shelves have been stocked with an ever-rotating range of books. It’s a popular spot.
Today E8 likes to drape himself in odd angles (see the magazine he left on the floor? he was hanging over the end of the sofa), and E5 loves cozy corners, so this spot is still used ALL the time. The colorful rug keeps it bright, and the books are always handy (I hate when people stack books on the floor instead of putting them back on the shelves, but that empty spot next to the games at least means they’re not stepped on later).
This shelf is in the same room (and you know this picture wasn’t staged–look at that dust!). Ever since he could read, E8 has loved books about foraging (berries in particular) and local wildlife, so this shelf is dedicated to these books. We don’t keep all of our books sorted, but having the most popular topics organized means the kids are more likely to read rather than give up after a jiffy quick, but unsuccessful look.
While we do remote schooling, most of what the kids are reading for school is on the screen–and I get it–but I don’t love it. We haven’t stocked loads of books in the school room, but we have a few that I’ve mixed into the curriculum to enhance it a little and simply because it’s important to me that the kids see books at school-time–even if thats not how the bulk of the learning is happening, they should be associated.
Remember the cozy tiny spots bit? We were surprised to find that squeezed behind this chair has become one of Miss 5’s other favorite book spots. She’ll wedge herself in , and sit back there for an extended period of time reading. Perhaps the protected space lets her feel free to escape into the books? (and don’t worry, the votives are never lit while sitting there…to be honest…I’m not sure how they got there in the first place…)
As you start building your cozy spots for the kids to read, take a look at where they go to feel relaxed and comfortable, and then start evolving those spaces into reading havens–add something soft but not distracting to sit on, and pop in a new bookshelf to put books in reach. And then when the kids do settle in, make yourself a cup of tea, settle in a fair bit away, and enjoy your moment while they read!
I’ve dropped a few links below if you’re looking for some cozy accessories to get you started. These are affiliate links which means I get a small commission at no cost to you when you use them, and I appreciate so much if you use them when you shop–thank you for supporting this blog 🙂