A child who reads will be an adult who thinks.Unknown
Within a school setting, a safe and comfortable space is vital for young children to engage with literature. With the importance of a classroom library in mind, we’ve come up with a few tips for you to create one within your classroom.
Parents of your pupils should already be aware of the benefits of improving children’s reading skills, and so the love of learning is already being nurtured at home. To allow you to encourage children to pursue literature within the classroom here are a few ideas for which books to collect and how to present them.
Best Classroom Library Ideas to Get Inspired
Below are just a few examples of classroom library ideas that have been executed beautifully.
To begin with, this space themed library (which we know has already been mentioned) is a fantastic use of a fairly small space. The books are categorized, the wall is inviting, and there are even props which tie into the theme. The only negative about this space is that there’s no seating.
Another brilliant example of using a theme within the classroom library is from @teachingwith_missmc on Instagram. This time a jungle theme has been used to create a secret space full of squishy cushions to sit on. For a small area this is a simple but fantastic use of the space.
Another themed idea which transports children’s imaginations out of the classroom. The below example uses a creative mix of themed cushions, wall decorations and a cute little tent to snuggle up inside if they want a bit of privacy. Add a DIY (child friendly) fire and you’ve got the ideal spot for them to camp out with a book.
Hot Air Balloons
The classroom library below doesn’t have a lot of floor space but this clever teacher has made fantastic use of the wall space and the ceiling above their reading corner. Suspending hot air balloon decorations sets the theme perfectly, and their choice of storage and seating doesn’t take up much room while still making the most of the area.
This reading corner unfortunately doesn’t have much natural light, but Mr. Visser has turned this into a positive by creating some mood lighting, allowing his pupils to feel cozy as they settle down to read on the squashy bean bag chairs in this reading nook.
A combination of textures
Cuddly toys, cushions, and even the use of artificial grass create a sensory experience within your classroom library. The example from Miss Dee below also uses a bed canopy to enclose the space and make it more cozy for children to enjoy. A mix of shelving and a display table make the books more enticing to your little readers too.
This simple monochrome theme provides a sleek, modern look for your classroom library. There’s just the right amount of decoration, with a great use of inspirational quotes on the wall space. Children may feel more grown-up with this color scheme but you can still have fun with the contrasting shapes and patterns. The black and white also makes the colorful books you choose look more enticing as that’s where their eyes will be drawn.
Our final example is a brilliant use of space and color, with a great balance of organised books with somewhere to sit and read them. This classroom is fortunate enough to have the room to do all of this but you can definitely make work on a smaller scale.
Choosing The Right Books
As a teacher, knowing your audience comes with the territory. The same is true for creating a classroom library. It’s something I discussed in my ideas for kids’ book clubs.
You want a varied range of subjects and titles, along with a varied range of reading levels, but at the same time if you’re an early years teacher, you’re not going to want to pack the shelves with astrophysics and quantum theory.
A selection of colorful books with interesting titles is also key. We as adults all know that you shouldn’t judge a book by its cover, children however, definitely do!
Making The Space Work For You
However big or small the space you have is, make it work for you. Packing the space with loads of books is a great thing to do but remember it should be a space where children want to be. Make sure there’s space for a comfy place to sit, like a squashy chair or giant beanbag for them to relax on.
Put up colorful and inspirational posters to keep their interest, but don’t clutter the walls too much.
It’s All About Presentation
Technically a shelf of books can be called a library corner, but your kids will be looking for something that sparks the imagination a little more than that. If you were designing a reading corner for a grown-up, it’s sure to be a quiet, calm place of muted colors and silence. This is not the case for classroom libraries; color is key. Make sure that you make those shelves interesting, for example turn the shelving into a feature. Make them fun, quirky and unique; maybe see if you can find some novelty shelving like the rocket ship below.
When asking yourself how to organize a classroom library, color can also be brought in. The books you choose from different subjects can be sorted into color-coded bins, shelves or even just labelled in a colorful way. This makes the space look so much more inviting and has the added benefit of making books easier to locate for both you and the children.
Classroom Library Seating Ideas
We’ve already touched on having comfy seating but it’s the extra little touches that will make your library more enjoyable. Below are further examples of seating ideas to compliment your classroom library.
Cushions and Cuddlies
Some children may enjoy having some companions while they read – some cute plush toys would be ideal to sit and snuggle as they enjoy their book. The cuddly friends will encourage children to stay in the reading corner for longer, enjoying more books and nurturing their love of literature.
This example of an open space below uses a circular seating arrangement to make reading a shared activity to be enjoyed as a group. This setup is great for story time allowing teachers to read to groups of children at the same time, and have conversations about books both before and after reading them.
Whether or not your classroom library is themed, cute ideas such as these pencil chairs make an excellent addition to your reading corner. Miniature chairs such as these are both cute and functional as they provide a well-proportioned place for children to sit while they enjoy their book.
If you’re short of space, cushions are a fantastic idea for classroom library seating. This idea below ties in a theme to the reading corner, but saves space as the cushions can be stacked and stored together without taking up too much room. You can DIY some cushion covers, or buy a set of themed ones from most stores.
Special Chair for Teacher
If you don’t have much of a budget to spend, or don’t have space for lots of furniture, this DIY idea is excellent. A special chair for the teacher, decorated accordingly, provides a focal point for your reading corner during story time. When not used by you, children using the chair will feel special as they do some individual reading.
Keep It Interesting
Once your library is established, don’t just rest on your laurels. Make sure your space is kept interesting and exposes the children to something refreshing every now and then. Doing this needn’t be a complete overhaul of your current set up though. If you’ve a small space and a lot of posters and images you wish to use, maybe change them every so often so they can all be seen and enjoyed.
Perhaps do a countdown of favorite books to be updated as a class each month or half-term. Encouraging your class to openly discuss their favorite books and add their input will promote their love of reading further. The below example lists their books as part of their space library theme.
However you choose to set up your class library, make sure you have fun and remember these words from the fantastic Dr Seuss:
You can find magic wherever you look. Sit back and relax, all you need is a book.Dr. Seuss