A reading corner is a truly magical place. Decorated and furnished in the just right way, this space can transport you into another world, a special, secret one that allows you to concentrate on the story between the pages of a book.
As a teacher, it’s up to you to put together the class reading corner (even if you have a few little helpers). While we know it’s easy to make your reading corner look amazing, sometimes the starting point is the hardest part.
That’s why we’ve put together this list of reading corner ideas to plant a seed of inspiration and help teachers kit out an unforgettable reading corner. Use our tips and tricks here to put together a reading corner with minimal effort, but one which will have your students gasping in awe when you unveil it.
DIY Equipment to Create your Reading Corner
There are some supplies required to create virtually any reading corner and having everything to hand when you dive into your DIY activities certainly helps. Here’s our list of essentials.
- Stapler: for securing things to walls, ceilings, and to each other. A stapler keeps paper, fabrics, and other materials securely fastened.
- Blu Tack: for putting together wall displays and letting little ones help without getting to messy.
- Drawing Pins: For fixing display items to wall displays, preferably above reaching height for children.
- Sellotape: great for general use sticking materials together, attaching things to walls, ceilings, and windows.
- Glue gun: for more hard-wearing, permanent crafts, good for fixing fabrics together.
- Scissors: general use cutting materials to shape.
- Stanley knife: cutting out intricate paper shapes.
- Wire: useful when creating structures, adding body and shape to fabrics, tissue, and paper constructions.
How to DIY Your Reading Corner
There are several basic components to a reading corner, here’s how you get them right with little cost, time, and effort.
Making the space as comfy as possible is important. It’s no fun to hang around reading a book if they can’t get comfy! Investing in versatile reading corner furniture is a great way to ensure you’ll be able to use and reuse it whenever you plan to switch up the space. We recommend these four options for fully adaptable comfy reading corner seating:
- 2-Seat Oval Pods
- Round Sagbag Giant Floor Cushions
- Seasons Grab-and-Go Cushions
- Bean Bag Reading Chairs
Aim for cushions and padded modular seats that can be grabbed easily and moved around, used to fill up an empty space, or create a seating area within the corner. Structured bean bags are great for slinging in a corner, or used to create a seating zone. Giant floor cushions can be layered up to create a soft flooring space.
Lighting is often overlooked but a little added light in the right places can really transform the atmosphere of your reading corner. Choose lighting that is more yellow-toned for a warmer feel. You might want to think about using:
- Fairy lights: drape them around your reading corner, intertwine them with fabric canopies, gather them into a glass vase as a lamp.
- Fibre-Optic lamps: set on tables or in dens for magical, sensory light.
- Colour-changing lights: versatile for use anywhere in your reading corner and feature a selection of different colours.
- Tea lights: naked flames in the reading corner arent a great idea, but we stock these artificial tea lights that look just like the real thing without any fire. They make an excellent addition to a classroom library.
Also, consider where your reading corner is in relation to the sun. Direct sunlight might end up creating a space that is too hot and uncomfortable or too bright to read in.
The wall space around your reading corner offers a great opportunity to get creative. You could use the space to add extra information about the books available in the reading corner. Putting up book suggestions for the students to read helps them get excited about stories they might choose to dive into. You could go one further and dedicate a piece of wall space to students’ contributions where they can put up their own book reviews for others to read.
If you want to focus more on setting the scene for your reading corner, consider creating an artistic scene on the wall as a backdrop. We have a fun 3D tree suggestion on our article Ideas for Your Classroom Reading Corner Display. Covering the wall in a roll of poster paper gives you a free roam to paint a whole backdrop, and including fabrics and tissue paper can help to border the scene and make it pop out.
Just as setting up comfy seating makes your reading corner a comfy cosy space, flooring is important too. Make sure there’s enough space for kids to sprawl out with a book if they want to. Providing enough space for all of the class to sit together is important if your reading corner doubles up as a space for circle time so you’ll want to make sure you put down a soft mat or rug.
DIY Reading Corner Hacks
Make Use of Furniture
Drape a fabric sheet over the space between two filing cabinets, or add a curtain on an expandable shower curtain railing. Tie sheets of fabric in a loop around a table with space at the bottom to be used as a hammock. Fill in gaps between chairs with cushions for extra seating.
We know that space in the classroom isn’t always in abundance. Between workspaces, storage, activity floorspace, and transitional areas in between, there aren’t many areas for a reading corner to take up.
Use this to your advantage by incorporating classroom furniture into the reading corner. Use storage units to book-end the reading corner and treat them as walls by leaning cushions on their inside corners, draping fabrics across them to create a sheltered space for reading, or even just using them as an imaginary line for where reading corner decorations start.
Even a simple table can be incorporated into a reading corner, leaving extra space for storage or work on top. Push the table up to the wall and kit out the space underneath as a reading nook with cushions and even fairy lights.
Use Height to Make a Cosy Space
Your reading corner should feel cosy and safe. One of the easiest ways to do this is by adjusting the height of the space to make the ceiling feel lower. This can be achieved in numerous ways:
- Use fabric attached to the walls and ceiling, draped across to create a canopy or tent. Find lots of ideas in our Den Making section.
- Hang tissue or ribbon streamers from the ceiling, either in differing lengths, or all the same length. These could be worked into your overall theme, for example, if you have an underwater theme or a forest theme, use green streamers for seaweed.
- Create a sense of height with wall decor by using certain colours and wall displays up to half the room height. Poster paper and poster border rolls are useful for doing this.
Use blackboard paint
Blackboard paint is a fantastic way to create a customizable wall space that can be used over and over again. Create a small area in your reading corner where students can write, draw, and doodle. Use the blackboard wall to brainstorm during group activities and circle time, or simply allow the kids to use their imagination when they’re in the reading corner.