If you build a book nook…they will come…..see the book nook? (Look for the dolphin on top!) Arranging a book shelf like this creates a treasured little corner of literacy. I always meant to paint the back of that shelf with chalkboard paint, or make into a feltboard…oh well, we moved before I could make it happen.
On the other side of that wall it’s a wondrous, little hiding spot to curl up with some good books. Make it cozy with pillows, blankets, chairs, and stuffed animals who like to be read to.
Tents and flashlights make great book nooks.
But you don’t have to buy anything either. Homemade forts make fun book nooks. I’ve seen curtains and shower curtains hung strategically in classrooms to build awesome book nooks.
Sometimes, after a good roll in the ball pit (our summer inflatable pool), it can become a book nook. Or just the empty pool. Or empty bathtubs in the middle of the night when you live in Oklahoma, husband’s out of town, and the tornado sirens are going off in your basement-less house.
Here’s a fun tip. Kids love to read aloud into empty cups. Stick a couple in your book nooks after you show them this echo maker…or empty oatmeal containers or those echo microphones in the dollar bins. Mini tape recorders are fun too. Anything that encourages your child to read aloud in a fun, non-stressful way. Don’t forget audio books!
“Echo readers” are fun too because they can hear themselves like a phone. I’ve seen speech therapists use these successfully. Lakeshore carries one for $5.
And sometimes its fun to read underwater and call your goggles “super reader peekers!”
Sidenote: If you can get an alphabet on the wall somewhere for your little ones near the book nook and within their reach, they can use those fun book nook accessories to interact with the alphabet. Add in an ABC song, a pointer or hot wheel car to roll or weave an ABC game into their day.
“Today for lunch we are having a food that begins with this letter (point excitedly, even though its possible you aren’t excited) , any guesses?” To which, if you’re feeling feisty, grab a dry erase board and write down their guesses or help them write. Have them circle all the “m’s” or whatever letter. If they say a food that doesn’t start with “m” write it down, then have them look closer before they erase it. Once you have a list of 4-5, give more clues until they guess what is for lunch…Clue: This lunch food has 2 syllables..so then have them erase all words on the list that do not have 2 syllables…etc.
Here’s our current book nook that is still in the making…it takes time to add to your playroom. No worries. Don’t forget to include magazines, books they have made, and even take out menus. Bookmarks, fun pointers to point at the words-decorated popsicle sticks work great for pointers and so do old bubble wands (depending on the eye-poke hazard age of your child). And, it should be said, we have books sprinkled all over the house. But I notice when we’re in the basement playroom, someone is often in the book nook. Sometimes its me.
Warning: Tired parents sometimes fall asleep in the book nook. This is perfectly normal. Try to set up the book to block your slumbering face. Make sure your kids find you awake too, reading in the book nook (or reading anywhere, for that matter). Send grandparents or cousins or aunts&uncles to see the book nook and read with your child, while you go escape for a mental minute or two. If you happen to not read much, fake it.
Cousin of the book nook: The reading picnic. Lay a blanket out and plop a basket of books in the middle. I’ve done this inside our living room and in our backyard. Reading picnics have saved my sanity at least a dozen times…oh yeah, and it’s good for their brains too.