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Reading Area

Discussion in 'Early Years' started by leahannabelle, Jan 8, 2019.

  1. leahannabelle

    leahannabelle New commenter

    I work in a preschool and hope to encourage other practitioners to improve our reading area. we have a variety of different books but children don’t seem interested in this area and use it as an additional role play space, as anyone got any ideas of how we can make this more purposeful and useful to young children? (I completely understand that children cannot read at this age)
  2. skellig1182

    skellig1182 Senior commenter

    Displays related to the book you are reading. Little lamp to make it homely. I was told that all their names should be displayed in the reading area for them to read. Lots of tricky words and questions. Pictures of books on the wall with keywords. xxx
    leahannabelle likes this.
  3. May2

    May2 Established commenter

    Firstly does it look inviting to the children. Is it a cosy area with nice cushions and maybe drapes where they can snuggle up with a book. Are there any cuddly toys they can 'read' stories to.

    We sometimes linked it to our topic e.g when we were doing something on transport and we also wanted to encourage boys to look at books more, we got a very large carboard box and used it to make a Thomas the Tank Engine. We cut it to shape and painted it with the face on the front and put cushions to sit on inside.

    You could get the group to make pictures of their favourite stories to put up in the reading area. Make sure you can display books in an inviting way even if it is just selecting a few you have read to the group and displaying them on upturned storage boxes covered with some material. But it gives them a chance to re - look at stories they have heard.
    Try to plan for an adult to spend time in your book corner as children are always attracted if someone is there to read a story (may be a parent helper).

    Have you got any Story Bags. You can buy these but some can be made yourselves quite simply and cheaply. In case you don't know this idea you need to make a draw string bag, good if it could be child friendly material, an old child's pillowcase is ideal to make it from. I kept an old dinosaur bed set from when my son was little and used the pillow case as a story bag for The Bucketful of Dinosaur stories. You just need to find a bucket and fill it with the same kind of dinosaurs as in the book. If you use the bag first by telling the story using the props and then put the props with the book inside the story sack and may be add some other dinosaur books , fact or fiction and hang in it your story corner then the children can access it themselves. They can they retell the story or make up their own with their friends. If an adult models a bit to start with they should get the idea. Look at what books you have and what resources you already have, and also use charity shops as a good source of props.
    Hope that helps a bit.
  4. leahannabelle

    leahannabelle New commenter

    We deffinately need to make it more appealing for the children, we have one of those dome things which post people use in their reading corner so we put material draped around that. We have limited cushions and cuddly toys so will look at getting some more of those. We don’t have topic or plan anything as we do in the moment planning. Love the idea of story sacks just think that preschool are abit too young to use them yet.

    Thankyou for your suggestions!
  5. leahannabelle

    leahannabelle New commenter

    What do you mean the book we are reading? We don’t read one specific book at once. What happens with all their names if they are displayed in the reading area? & do you still suggest the use of tricky words and questions even though they are 3 and 4 years?
  6. May2

    May2 Established commenter

    'What do you mean the book we are reading? We don’t read one specific book at once'

    You presumably have a group story time at the end of the day? just display the books you have just read for the week so they are easily accessible to the children to find again. Also good to have a selection of the well known familiar stories such as Goldilocks and 3 bears ( easy to make story sack), Red Riding Hood etc as some children may know them and so try to 'read them'
    Our children loved story sacks and they were 3 1/2 - 4years. They basically play with the toys and some may retell the story but it gets them more interested in the books. Definitely have an adult modelling and reading books as much as possible.
    Personally, I would more likely have names in a 'writing area' maybe blu tacked or Velcro to a board that they could take off to copy or trace.
    Obviously you have posted for different ideas and so will get a range of opinions. I am not sure you need tricky words and questions in a pre-school. They are better for Reception. If you want questions the recording button things (can't remember what they are called at the mo) are best in pre-school and Nursery as they won't really read questions but can listen to these and respond, but that is another area.

    I appreciate you may well plan in the moment but you can still adapt the book corner to interests and change it every few weeks for interest. In Spring maybe the children could make a tree trunk with branches of blossom coming off it that they could sit under to look at a book.

    I don't know if you have much of an outside area but particularly as the weather warms don't forget books can be outside too in a little den with blankets and may be in a pop up tent. We just trained the children to keep the books in the reading 'den' and not to run around with them.

    I am not sure quite what you mean by 'they use it more for role play' A lot of things do overlap at this age so it can be fine if they are using the stories in their role play but not so much if it is just a space they are using as an extra space to play with lots of other toys maybe. We also found the children loved looking at books in the dark with torches! We acquired a small tent and got children's sleeping bags from a charity shop and they loved 'reading in bed!
    I am not sure if you are a pack away preschool which obviously takes a lot more time setting these things up but hopefully some ideas may help you or any other readers.
    Last edited: Jan 8, 2019
  7. skellig1182

    skellig1182 Senior commenter

    We had a borough advisor come in and explain it all. A mix of handwritten and printed words and questions would be good. Just type their names out and put them on the wall. The children read their names, that’s what happens. And they love it.

    We do have a main text every half term which we link to our writing, for example the hungry caterpillar. We made a huge caterpillar out of Velcro and put it up.

    Words should be everywhere from a young age. They should be recognising print I the environment. It’s important to have questions and words up in the reading area because these are not only for the children but for the adults who read with them in the reading area. The reading area is not just a place for reading but a place for taking about reading.

    We got an outstanding last term and they highlighted the reading area in my classroom. Ps, everything should be a child’s height. I’ll try and post pictures.pm with any questions! xxx

    Many children will know sounds of the alphabet by the end of nursery. I’ve taught nursery and reception/ks1. The
  8. skellig1182

    skellig1182 Senior commenter

    seeing if it works! This was very early on last September.xx

    Attached Files:

  9. skellig1182

    skellig1182 Senior commenter

    I’ve got a few more but won’t let me upload. I can email you them if you like. xx
  10. grumbleweed

    grumbleweed Star commenter

    3 year olds definitely not too young for story sacks.
    Some good ideas, but I'd also say the adults heed to model reading so need to position themselves in an area that you find children not using. It needs to be cosy and away from doorways. Children will soon follow you in there,
  11. skellig1182

    skellig1182 Senior commenter

    That’s it exactly. We’ve done the reading area out so an adult can sit in there with at least two children next to them on the sofa. Then lots of modelling can be done:)

  12. leahannabelle

    leahannabelle New commenter

    thankyou so much for your suggestions! I very much agree with what youve said and its now about encouraging the other practitioners to think the same!
  13. leahannabelle

    leahannabelle New commenter

    I would really appericate that, leahannabelle@hotmail.co.uk
  14. caterpillartobutterfly

    caterpillartobutterfly Star commenter

    Mine don't use the reading corner very much, but then again they can't read so why would they? They love reading with me and listening to me read to them...they also take the books to the role play area to read in the cafe or house. We share 3-4 books a day as me reading to them or looking at non-fiction books, so I'm not overly fussed that they don't use it that often.

    They like reading with an adult.
    They like to find the initial letters of their names.
    They are beginning to recognise initial letters of other people's names.
    They like to pretend to read in the role play area.

    Heyyy clearly isn't a problem that they don't 'sit and read in the reading corner'.
  15. skellig1182

    skellig1182 Senior commenter

    My nursery children were always similar to this. They love sitting with an adult or walking around with a book pointing to pictures and showing you.

    Reception chn are more likely to sit down and try and read some words, use the pictures to tell the story ect. I think wherever the children are if they have a book and look in it, that’s brilliant
  16. ChanChan123

    ChanChan123 New commenter

    I think even if you do in the moment planning having a vague topic-ish vibe for books can work really well. We do a core story in our room but also have story shelves.

    The shelves have 4 boxes and each has a different theme. At the moment one is shark in the park with a basket of sharks and a telescope and book for example.

    We use books that we know the children either really love or know really well like 3 pigs. Don't know viable it is but we've also got little fairy lights and other objects to encouage a cosy quiet space which they learn to use for reading.

    Maybe make it a point that you are going to read a book there once a day during free flow to 'model' it's use?

    Another thing I've learnt is that a large dogs bed filled with cushions can add a lovely cosy enclosed space?!!
  17. ChanChan123

    ChanChan123 New commenter

    Maybe adding books that have got pictures of their learning and experiences in? Print picture, laminate and then clip together wirh keyrings or treasury tags. Works really well for us x
  18. StarbuckEducation

    StarbuckEducation New commenter

    Little baskets with finger puppets linked to the books, word games, magnetic words, signs with words of the week, book of the day display, colouring sheets linked to the characters etc.

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