Hooray for reading! March is National Reading Awareness Month, created to celebrate and accelerate children’s interest in reading, writing, and literacy. It kicks off on Read Across America Day, March 2nd, which is in its 20th year, and quite appropriately is also Dr. Seuss’ birthday.
One of the many fun activities you can try this month is reading aloud with your child 15 minutes per day. We will definitely be doing that. If you are a little more ambitious and up for a DIY project, my daughter Giovanna, a book lover at age 13 and aspiring designer, created a reading nook for her brother Wilton, our not-so-easy to keep entertained 7-year-old. Although you could certainly purchase some shelving and cozy seating for this project, we repurposed things in our home and reorganized our books which made a huge difference.
5 Tips for Creating a Kid-Friendly Reading Space
- Design together – Ask your child about what he or she envisions in a reading space. Then, create a Pinterest board together, gathering ideas for your project. You can pick out a color scheme and even make a budget for materials, books or even snacks. See the Pinterest board we created here >> Reading Nook DIY
- Create comfort – You want your child to enjoy and hang out in the space, so make sure it’s comfy. A cozy chair, bean bag or floor cushion are all good options. Have a blanket and pillow on hand, and make sure there is a good light source for reading.
- Make it self-sufficient – Children love to be independent and do things “all by themselves.” In the space, they should be able to easily see and reach the books they want to read without help. Add a small kitchen timer so your child can set it and challenge themselves to read at length. Don’t forget your goal of reading together 15 minutes per day.
- Keep it organized – Keeping books organized saves more mental energy for reading, and wastes less time trying to find things. For example, organize books by title and size, and put library books on a special shelf, or basket, so there is less searching.
- Create Calm – Situate the space in a quiet place in your home, such as their bedroom. You can even convert a closet to a nook (see Pinterest board)! A calm space allows the child to focus and enjoy the stories he/she will read.
Don’t forget to take a trip to a local bookstore or load up with new titles at the library. Novelty always proves to be motivational, along with shopping for a favorite snack.
What did my first grader choose for his March Read after Green Eggs and Ham? The last in the series of “Diary of a Wimpy Kid” by Jeff Kinney, not high literature, but he’ll devour it alongside a snack pack of fruit gummies. I’ll be lucky if he doesn’t cozy up and finish the book before we get our 15 minutes of reading aloud together. Just in case, I’ll have our Phipps family favorite rhyming story on hand, The Seven Silly Eaters, a title after Dr. Seuss’ heart.