“The ability to read awoke inside me some long dormant craving to be mentally alive.” -Autobiography of Malcolm X
As a kid, I had the happy pleasure of having a teacher who had a custom-built “tree-house” in her classroom that existed for the sole purpose of giving kids a place to read. Really, it was a very basic ply-wood and board frame, painted on the exterior to look like a tree, but to the kids, it was magical. Every kid in the school knew about it, younger kids hoped to have that teacher, older kids wistfully talked about it, and kids in adjoining classes were pickled green with their envy. Not all kids have connected with reading and the various joys it can bring. If you’ve got a young one who hasn’t fallen for the literary world, we’ve got an idea for you: a reading corner.
Once the usual class instruction and assignments were completed, as a reward, kids were allowed to head over to the tree-house, climb the ladder to the upstairs loft that had pillows, bean bags, and window overlooking the rest of the class and most importantly, books.
Since the tree-house was off-limits unless the privilege had been earned, the house had even more appeal and kids that would usually turn their noses up at a book would be found nestled in the house, reading away. What encourages kids to spend 20 minutes enthralled in the adventures of Lemony Snicket or Ada Ruth than a private kid’s-only zone. It didn’t hurt that it had a “No Grown-ups Allowed” sign.
If you’ve got one of those kids who hasn’t fallen in love with words yet, this just might be another way to encourage some quality reading time is a quiet little corner dedicated for just that. In fact, every kid should have access to their own little corner of the world to lounge in, daydream and read. It can be something as a hula-hoop fabric reading “tent” or as elaborate as a custom structure in your home or classroom.
The idea is to share the message that reading is cool and setting aside an extra-special spot just for kids to develop a relationship with the characters in their books just might help set the perfect tone for it.
There is no need to spend a lot of money or time in designating a place dedicated to reading. The important thing is to make one. If your children see that you think reading is important, they will follow along. And what child does not like attention from mom and dad?