If you struggle with getting your kids excited about reading at home, try creating a simple Children's Book Reading Nook. A little bit of organization can help to make your kids' at-home reading assignments feel like fun instead of like homework.
My girls are heading back to school next week, starting 3rd and 4th grades. Whenever a new school year is about to begin, I think about the things I want to do differently and better than the previous year in terms of organization. I know how quickly the lazy days of summer turn into back-to-school hustle and bustle, so I want to take steps now to make sure that our weekdays and weeknights run as smoothly as possible all year long.
The one area I really want to tackle this year is at-home READING. In addition to their homework, my girls are expected to read at home for at least 20 minutes a day. They typically enjoy reading, but when we don't have any sort of organization or routine in place, what should be a relaxing and enjoyable 20 minutes of their day turns into a chore.
- "Mom, I can't find the book I was reading."
- "Mom, I just finished my book and I still have ten minutes left...what should I read now?"
- "Has anyone seen my library books?"
- "I forget which book I started."
- "Can somebody bring me a bookmark so I don't lose my place?"
I absolutely LOVE to read, so I hated that my kids' at-home reading was turning into a hassle instead of something to look forward to at the end of a busy day. Since they enjoyed reading books at school, I sensed that our disorganized system at home was to blame for their lackluster attitude.
Part of the issue is that we have children's books coming into our house from so many different directions: books from the school library, books from their classroom libraries, e-books on their tablets, books received as gifts, books bought at the book fair, and books we've inherited or borrowed from friends and family. Believe me, I'm completely grateful for the abundance of children's books in our lives, but when there are so many different books floating around, it's hard to know what has/hasn't been read, what's half-finished, and what to read next.
Instead of reading books start to finish, or delving into a series they loved, they would just grab whatever book was closest and read a chapter here and a chapter there. As a result, they weren't fully engaged in what they were reading, and weren't really excited about reading.
I knew that getting our at-home reading situation under control would be easy with a little bit of creativity. So we headed out to some craft and office supply stores in the area with the goal of making a "book nook" for each of the girls' bedrooms.
My main priority was to organize their books so that they 1) could quickly find their current book, bookmarks, reading lights, and other accessories, and 2) have other books waiting in a "to read" bin so that there's never a question about what to read next.
With that in mind, I bought some simple wall-mount magazine organizers, some labels, and a chalk pen. It only took a few minutes to turn the supplies into cute little reading stations for each of the kids.
DIY Children's Book Reading Nook:
- wall-mounted magazine organizers
- pen or chalk pen
- double-sided tape
Create your categories and write them on your labels. You don't need to choose the same ones I did...you can designate one bin for library books, chapter books, or anything that works for your family!
To make the lettering look nice, I just printed out the words on a sheet of paper in a pretty, large font and duplicated it as best I could onto the labels.
Use the double-stick tape to adhere the labels onto your magazine holders. (For the one I made with the wire basket, I used one piece of tape on the back of the label, and covered it with tape backing on the inside of the basket so that the exposed tape wouldn't stick to the books inside the basket.)
Mount the magazine holders on the wall in a space that's close to where your child loves to read (and make sure he/she can reach it!).
The possibilities are endless with this project, so feel free to get as creative as you want! You can spray paint the metal magazine holders, add stickers and other accessories, and use any type of label your heart desires. If you make a book nook of your own, post the photo on instagram and be sure to tag me @goodinthesimple so I can see it!
And please share any tips of your own for getting your kids excited about their at-home reading.