If you want your children to grow up with a love for reading, you’re probably going to need more than a few shelves of books. On the other hand, you can turn a home library into the favorite spot in the house if you decorate it right.
The number of American children who say they love reading books for fun has dropped almost 10 percent in recent years, according to a survey by the children’s publishing company Scholastic. They found that only 51 percent of children said they loved or liked reading books for fun. An engaging home library is an effective way to help your child be one of the fortunate ones who still read for pleasure. Try these ideas for creating an ideal environment for playful and enriching story times.
Creating a reading spot in your home library
Think beyond ordinary chairs for putting together a place where little ones can curl up with their books. Fill an empty sandbox or wading pool with big pillows. Take a colorful blanket, and drape it over a table to turn it into a tent where your children can sit underneath.
Maximizing natural light will not only help your child to read, but may even improve their sleep and overall health. Arrange your seating areas next to the windows. If possible, build a window seat or install a skylight. Think about task lighting too. Lamps on side tables, along with floor lamps, will provide optimum conditions for reading.
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If you live someplace warm, buy or build a small shed in your backyard, and make it a playhouse for reading and other activities. You can fill it with repurposed furniture from your own home or garage sales. Give an old chair new style and interest by covering it with fake fur or velvet. Embroider your child’s name on the back of the seat, or glue on strips of glitter and sequins.
Displaying books in your home library
Think like a fancy retail store. In reality, we all tend to judge books by their covers, so arrange them so the covers show. Put them on shelves facing forward instead of lined up with just the spines showing. Add appropriate props nearby to carry on the theme. If your child likes to read about princesses, you could add dolls and toy castles. For science fiction fans, set out model planets and robots.
If you’re wondering what kinds of books to stock up on, aim for a wide variety. Students who have a broader range of reading materials in their home score higher in reading proficiency, according to the Educational Testing Service. If your child likes manga and other comic books, carry them as well as more traditional titles. Whatever you choose, be sure to rotate your collection frequently to keep everyone interested.
Welcoming an audience into your home library
Children love positive attention, so a show of support will reinforce the good reading habits they are picking up. Paint a wall in a cheerful color to serve as the backdrop so you can use your computer or phone to record a video of your child reading. Grandparents and godparents will love to receive a message like that and share their enthusiastic feedback.
In addition to having your child read to you, they can also read to their dog or a stuffed animal. Take it one step further by building a stage. A cardboard box covered with fabric lets you put on a sock puppet show for enacting your favorite scenes. You could also start a book club with other parents who have children of similar ages where everyone can take turns reading aloud. Depending on your child’s age, they can write and post reviews online about the books they’ve read or you can post reviews that include their most entertaining and insightful comments.
Build a home library where you can share the joy of reading with your family. You’ll be helping your child to gain new knowledge, expand their vision, and prepare for college and their future career.