It’s December. It’s cold, unless you are lucky enough to live in a warm climate. Here in Iowa we bundle up and wait for snow. There’s no better time to snuggle down with a good book or three. Do you have a Cozy Corner or Book Nook for children in your child care program? December is Read a New Book Month, so now is a great time to take a look at your reading area!
It doesn’t need to be elaborate or expensive. By providing a soft, comfortable and inviting space, you are giving children permission to explore new worlds, expand their imaginations and grow their brain.
These DIY examples found on Pinterest are great because they let children see the front of the book, become interested in books by the colors and designs that are on the cover, and then they may want to explore what is inside. Providing a variety of books that are located within a child’s reach allows them to select one that interests them and encourages them to read. A collection of pillows, cushions or a child-sized rocker (my personal favorite as a child) invites a child to relax and enjoy their reading experience.
If the space is used by both very young and older children together, consider offering board, cloth or plastic books down low within a toddler’s reach. Make space higher up for older children to access the books that interest them. Expect that toddlers are going to want to put books in their mouth. That is just another way for them to explore with all of their senses.
Do you ever notice a certain book or two that doesn't seem to interest anyone? Perhaps the cover doesn’t grab their attention or they by-pass it while looking for their favorite book. Instead of putting it away for another time, try reading it to them in a new way! Add props, puppets or different voices. Do you have a toddler that wants to read the same book over and over and over? That’s okay! That’s also a perfectly normal, yet sometimes frustrating, thing for toddlers to do. Try the same thing; read it with them in a new way, changing your tone, speed or even having them “read” the book to you. They probably have it memorized, anyway! It makes it interesting for you, as well, while you are reading that book you most likely also have memorized.
By inviting children to fall in love with books, you are helping them begin a lifelong love of learning. That is something they will keep with them long after they have outgrown their cozy book nook.