Create a comfortable place, a “reading zone” where students can take a break and read.
- Beanbags or couches are not necessary, but they create a nice atmosphere. Younger students may appreciate pillows or stuffed animals. A reading rug is a must with younger grades, it can add a “cozy” feeling for older students too.
- Create exciting “posters, bulletin boards, and displays…(and) children show more interest in books” (Krashen, 45).
- Set up your bookshelves in a quiet, low-traffic and well-lit space.
- Shelves should be no taller than the eye-level of the shortest child.
- Paint your shelves fun, eye-catching colors. Make sure the shelves look sturdy, and well-made.
- Books should be stood straight up/lined up and look organized, not cluttered. They must be tidied at the end of the day.
- Whenever possible, turn books facing out. Children are 80% more likely to pick up books with covers facing out than books with spines out (Trelease, 89). Ask your feeder high school’s Carpentry class to build free-standing book displays, or make them yourself. Regular bookshelves can be used for display with bins or clear boxes facing out.
- Decide how you want to organize books on the shelves. It is often easier to simply have sections, for example by genre (historical fiction, manga, horror, etc.) rather than assigning exact order for individual books (as with Dewey Decimal system).
Trelease, J. (2013). The read-aloud handbook. New York: Penguin Books.