March may be National Reading Month, but April is National Library month and you can use that month as a way of further encouraging your students to read. One of the easiest ways to get students to voluntarily read more is to create a reading corner and library in your classroom. Students will often times want to read if there is a special place for them to experience the activity and a library will serve to allow the student to read a book of their choosing instead of yours.
Students spend most of their time having to sit in hard desk or, if younger, on a carpet. Pillows are a nice alternative for students to sit on. Oversized pillows can also allow the child to lay down and read in comfort. The more comfortable and relaxed a child is the more apt they are to read a book and have fun doing it. The good thing about pillows is they can be stacked up where they take up less room. However, if room is not an issue in your classroom, you may want to consider getting bean bags. Bean bags are a favorite among students. While they do not allow as many options for how the child sits, most children will be able to curl up in a comfortable position with their book.
You want your reading area to be inviting to the student. You want the student to think of getting to go to the reading area as a treat and privilege. There are a variety of different ways that you can decorate. One of the easiest is with bright and fun posters about reading and with their favorite literary characters on them. However, another option is to completely set that part of the room apart from the rest of your classroom. Use curtains or drapes to create a backdrop to the area. You can also use string lights to decorate. Hang them from a curtain rod or hula hoop to really create a special area.
Make sure that you have a wide variety of books in your library. The more options you have for the students to choose from, the easier it is to find a book that will interest the student. Make sure you have books that encompass a wide range of interests from dinosaurs and sports to fairy tales and nature. You should also make sure that how you display your books is appealing to the children. If you have a bookcase, paint it with chalkboard paint and allow students to draw or write on it. Or, if you don’t have a lot of room, place your books on a spinning shelf.
Do you have a special area in your classroom where the students can relax with a good book? Share it with us!