The school place
Teachers spend chunks of time during their year reorganising classrooms. There are many reasons for this; from different events to varying themes and needs. However, one constant factor is a need to create the right reading place.
Physical restrictions of some classrooms mean the right place may have to be a child’s desk or table. In that case, the teacher will ensure that she/ he has the right atmosphere for reading. This will be a routine time, always quiet with the only focus upon the reading process. In some of the best classrooms I’ve seen, the teacher reads too. She/ he is modelling that this is a special time.
This is different from curricular class reading practice with tasks and teaching points. This is reading, with joy of the book and a personal experience.
Joyce Carol Oates says, ‘Reading is the sole means by which we slip, involuntarily, often helplessly, into another’s skin, another’s voice, another’s soul.’ Readers know, what we hold is Not Just a Book
The home place
At home, many of the same considerations for finding the right place to read apply. Reading time and behaviour should be routine. That means at the same time in the same way.
The home reading book for children should never be a battle. The child should be fed and watered and relaxed. Ideally, the same area for reading practice should be allocated.
Reading, aka reading for pleasure– the type that is C.S. Lewis’s ‘cup of tea‘ of life- needs a similar approach. This time should be uninterrupted, free of pressures, and comfortable. It should be their time. Parents who read demonstrate this sort of approach, so children assume it is natural. When children see their parents read as a matter of course, they will read too.
Mr Bookwagon and I read differently. Years of reading on his city commute became Mr B’s routine. He could block out the other travellers within a decent amount of travel time that was his own.
After his commuting days, he found it difficult to find a new reading place. Now it’s propped up on the the bed with cushions, morning and evening.
I read, as Gustav Flaubert instructed, ‘to live’. When teaching, with many hours devoted beyond the school day, my reading was truncated and frequently frustrated. It meant that any holiday became a void wherein I was offered ‘escape, comfort, consolation and stimulant‘- Paul Auster.
My reading place is different from Mr Bookwagon’s. While I like cushions, I need to be propped up. I sit on my feet, or stretch onto a footstool. A favourite place to read is in the room where I’m working, which is well lit, airy and secluded.
The bedtime read is an altogether different thing. This is that cherished time that bonds readers and the story they share. It’s physical and specia
Olivia by Ian Falconer:-
‘Only five books tonight, Mummy,’ she says. ‘No Olivia, just one.’ ‘How about four?’ ‘Two.’ ”Three.’ ‘Oh all right, but that’s it!’
Like reading alone, bedtime reading should always be routine and uninterrupted. Reading parents continue reading to their children long after they are able to read alone in their reading place. They recognise how hearing a story supports and extends understanding, vocabulary development, and real literacy.
Reading for pleasure
Even from infant, when it seems the child is too young and the book doesn’t make sense, that child merits a reading place.
It may be through a basket or shelf of books, possibly baby chewed, from which she or he will make a selective decision. They may linger, point, approximate the text as they’ve heard the words read before, but they’re reading for pleasure. They’re hearing the voices, realising the story and reading.
When it’s all put together, the book becomes the jewel in the place, the target and joy. J.K. Rowling says, ‘Wherever I am, if I’ve a book with me, I have a place I can go and be happy.’
Take a look at our selection of Latest titles for children’s books to read in their reading place. Every book has been read and loved by us, in our reading places.