The book area

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By Hilary Whitewriter and educational consultant

An enticing and child-friendly book area is central to literacy provision in the Early Years setting. Use these ideas to create an inspiring environment for your young readers

Child reading

Observe the children using the book area

Watch the children as they use the book area and take a critical look at how it functions as a space. How easily can the children browse through the books? Does the environment enable them to relax and enjoy reading? Are the seating and display areas easy to access? Are certain resources not being used? Is this because they don’t interest the children or because they could be more accessible? Demonstrate how to take a book from the bookshelf or box and how to put it back carefully – encourage the children to practise these skills.

Location and furniture

Choose a space with good natural light and, if possible, located away from the noisier parts of the setting. Whether you are caring for children in the home or a pre-school setting, a cosy and appealing environment is the key to a successful book area. Colourful floor cushions, beanbags, small blankets and a soft rug encourage children to relax with a favourite character. As an alternative, and if your budget will allow, small sofas and armchairs make it easier to share books. Try to ensure there is space for group book sharing – both adult and child initiated.

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