A cozy reading corner
I consider a book to be a treasure which can serve as a kick-start for babies to develop a lifelong love of reading. In my opinion, books promote creativity and language development. They also provide babies with moments of calm and tenderness. Do you have a cozy reading corner where books are permanently available to the babies under your care? If not, here are a few ideas to create one. I will give you a few options in order to ensure it is appealing to baby eyes.
BOOKS, WHERE TO FIND THEM...
There are bookstores of course! Books are great but they can be expensive!
There is your local library... this is a marvelous place which allows to renew the books you offer on a regular basis for free.
There are garage sales in the summer.
There are secondhand bookstores where books are sold for a fraction of the original prices and are of good quality. I know there are a few excellent addresses in Montreal.
CREATING A READING CORNER
Once you have found a good variety of books, you need a reading corner. If possible, I suggest that you avoid setting up your reading corner near your activity area.
Creating a reading corner:
You can place a small mattress in a corner adding cushions and plastic storage bins in which to place the books.
A more elaborate reading corner:
You can also create a more "isolated" area. This will require two cubby hole units which are not too high so the daycare worker can always see the babies. The books must always be available for the babies to explore. The cubby holes shown are perfect.
In order to create a more intimate setting, you can place the cubby holes in a way which defines the area more clearly. Babies can easily pick the books which attract them most since they are at their level.
If you have a wooden playpen as in and if the babies under your care are older, why not open the gate and create your reading corner inside? At the daycare center where I used to work, we had set up a playpen lengthwise. We had added a wooden partition which could be removed or used to separate the playpen into two sections. One section could be used as a reading corner. The other section could be used as a play area for babies who are not mobile yet.
CONSTANT RENEWAL USED TO ATTRACT BABIES INTO THE READING CORNER FROM TIME TO TIME...
It is important not to have too many books in the reading corner at the same time. Otherwise, it will be too difficult to keep the area tidy. All surplus books should be kept out of sight in closets or storage bins. The books which are in the reading corner can be changed on a regular basis. The new books will ensure that the babies will continue to be attracted into the reading corner.
We can add laminated pictures on the walls at their eye level. These can also be renewed regularly. Since this is a cozy corner we can complete the decor with soft objects (stuffed animals, cushions, blankets, etc.).
We had a ceiling light which hung down over the reading area. We added a blue light bulb which attracted the babies. You can also simply cover the lighting in the reading corner with a clear blue plastic.
Often, books with regular paper pages become damaged. Instead of throwing them away, why not save the pages and make posters out of them? They can be glued to the wall in the correct order to tell the story.
THEMES AND BOOKS
If you use a program which explores themes, don't forget to find books which have your themes in their storylines. For example, if your theme is "Rabbits"... you can surely find 2-3 books with rabbits. Books can sometimes inspire us to explore a certain theme also. If one of the babies adores the little lamb found in one of your books, it might be interesting to build the following week's theme around it.
There you go! You are ready to set up the coziest of reading corners!
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