Google The Unplanned Homeschooler: Creating a cozy reading space for your child

Sunday, January 4, 2015

Creating a cozy reading space for your child

I can't really say enough about the importance of reading. There are so many benefits that kids can reap, either by reading on their own or by being read to by a parent or loved one. Not only does reading help build cognitive and communication skills, it can also increase self-esteem and creativity, according to the Family Literacy Foundation

But how can you encourage your own kids to read more, especially if reading just isn't their favorite activity? One great way is to create a cozy reading space especially for your child. Here's how to do it right.

Comfy seating

Who likes reading in a hard, uncomfortable chair? I know I don't! A comfortable place to recline and relax is an important part of a cozy reading space. 

You might think that your kids already have a perfect place to read in their bed. But unlike adults, kids often resist being sent to their bed for a nap or at night. A space separate from the bed may be more attractive for your nap-resistant child.

Some alternatives, depending on your space, may include a small armchair, a rocking chair, a beanbag chair or a pile of cushions on the floor. If space is limited, you can transform a bed into a reading space by adding a supportive reading pillow with arm rests, available in lots of colors and fabrics to match any d├ęcor.

Warm lighting

According to research by the Australian National University, certain types of indoor lighting can not only be uncomfortable for reading, they can cause permanent eye damage. Bright, fluorescent overhead lighting, like that typically found in office buildings or schools, should be avoided.
When creating your child’s reading space at home, opt for warm fluorescent or incandescent lamp lights, bright enough for your child to read comfortably. When outfitting young children’s rooms, make sure to avoid halogen lamps which can result in serious burns.

A place for all the books

Young children may choose to look at several books at a time, even before they can read the words.  Older kids may read from only one book during a session, especially once they have graduated to chapter books. But most kids seem to like having a selection of favorites close by when they are reading. 

Make sure your child has a place to keep a few favorite books, perhaps on a shelf or in a basket, next to their reading spot. That way, they may be encouraged to read longer than if they have to go back and forth to another part of the room, maybe getting distracted by toys along the way.

Banish electronics... for a while

As a way to encourage your child to read more, give them time each day when electronics are not allowed. Don’t treat this as a punishment, but as a house rule. Whether they choose to retreat to their reading spot, go outside or just play with their toys, they will benefit greatly from reduced screen time.  

Don’t believe me? Make the rule apply to yourself, as well. Set the example by going unplugged for at least a little while each day, and enjoy the fresh air, a good book, or maybe even an afternoon nap. You can thank me later!

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