Your classroom reading corner needs to live and breathe imagination so that your students can effortlessly transport themselves into the world of a book. We see teachers come up with all kinds of amazing reading corners and featured a few teacher-inspired DIY reading corner ideas in our blog.
One of the most effective ways to make a reading corner extra cosy for kids is actually very simple—reduce its height. By lowering the height of the reading corner where your students spend their quiet reading time, you’re creating a space that feels safe, secret, and child-sized.
One of the easiest, cheapest, and most creative ways to do this is with a canopy that gives the effect of a lower ceiling. Read on to find some ideas for how to add a canopy to your reading corner.
Three of our Favourite Reading Corner Canopies
DIY reading corner canopies take time, and as much as every teacher wants to encourage reading with a unique and imaginative reading corner, there is substantial planning and creativity involved. We understand, not all teachers want to spend their evenings putting up homemade bunting.
Installing a pre-made reading corner structure is a stress-free way of injecting a fun reading space into the classroom. Like other built reading corner furniture, these structures are built especially with reading time for kids in mind and are good to go after having been assembled, but can also be developed and customised. Here are three of our favourites for classrooms.
The Forest Reading Den comes with its own built-in canopy so little ones can actually crawl inside and feel extra cosy. The inside of the den is padded for comfort and safety and it is made from PVC for easy cleaning. Install this den in your reading corner as a peaceful escape.
For a larger canopied reading corner, the Tree House Library is designed to be more open and can take larger groups of children, or older kids. The unit features a soft fabric tree canopy and two cushioned sharing seats.
One of the best things about this unit is its freedom for customisation. Pre-drilled holes in the structure make it easy to decorate and hang up artwork and other materials.
The Maple Tree House is a wonderful canopied structure with enough space for two students to quietly work in. The unit comes with shelves to store extra books, and with desks facing away from each other and a roof of opaque perspex, this unit promotes calm and concentration.
You could adapt this unit to make it even more private by putting up sheets of fabric on either side to create a truly secret space. Don’t forget a big, soft reading corner rug.
Create your own Reading Corner Den
Den making is not only an easy way to set up a cosy, canopied reading corner, it also gives your students the opportunity to practice their engineering skills if you get them involved. Involving your students with the reading corner DIY gives them a sense of pride and ownership over the space, which in turn encourages them to look after it and keep it tidy.
Dens come in all shapes and sizes, all you need is a few materials and some creativity. Your school may be able to provide you with some old sheets of fabric from theatrical performances, or you could source some from a haberdashery.
We sell den making kits that come with a range of complementing fabrics in different themes, making den creation much easier.
If your reading corner has a nature theme, using camouflage is an easy and effective way to create pretend foliage. Drape camouflage netting from the ceiling in your reading corner to make a pretend forest canopy and decorate your reading corner with plants and flowers. Camouflage netting has a wonderfully unusual texture to it which gives a good organic effect to your canopy.
We also stock a Folding Camouflage Den if you want to create the natural den effect without having to spend time putting everything together. Our folding den uses camouflage netting and can be taken down and stored away easily—very useful when you’re working with a small classroom that has to be multifunctional.
Creative Reading Corner Canopy Ideas
If you’re feeling creative and you want to come up with your own canopy for the reading corner, you’ll no doubt create something your students will be thrilled to try out. Here are a few ideas to base a canopy on.
Create a TeePee
Creating a teepee is an easy way to produce a canopy and in fact creates a complete den in itself. Make a big teepee for your class reading corner, or even arrange a class activity where you make one as a group or individual pairs make their own for the day.
You can make a teepee with some poles (garden support poles work well), rope, and fabric. But there are also lots of different kits that make the experience a bit easier, especially for young children. Try our Role Play TeePee that comes with wooden sticks, woven polyester, and can be assembled with easy to use plastic connectors.
Use a Mosquito Net
A mosquito net is a long, cylindrical piece of fine netting draped over a loop of plastic at the top end and attached to a hook. Mosquito nets are usually very cheap to buy and their lightweight material means they can be easily draped over any furniture.
The netting used to make a mosquito net is translucent meaning it lets light through but still feels cosy enough inside to have the effect of a den. Using a mosquito net as the basis for your reading corner canopy is quick, cheap, and easy. You could customise your net by stapling or sewing other materials to it. Consider some ideas:
- Attach paper or felt leaves to your net to create a forest atmosphere.
- Drape fairy lights over your net to build a fantasy, fairyland.
- Hang brown string, wool, or rope from the inside of your net to act like roots in an underground cave system.
Make an Indoor Reading Corner Tree
One thing we covered in our article about reading corner display ideas includes a reading corner canopy. Follow the link to find out how to make your own reading corner tree.
Construct your reading corner tree with tissue paper to give the trunk and branches body and make them stand out from the wall. Using puffs of green tissue paper for the leaves will really make your reading corner tree come to life. Towards the top of your tree, you can bring out a canopy of leaves by stapling or sticking more green leafy puffs to the ceiling.
Doing this will create the illusion of a canopy and a lower ceiling in your reading corner. You could get creative with wool or tissue streamers by hanging them in loops to make jungle vines, or directly down to create a willow tree.
Complete your tree with a reading corner banner to let everyone know which class this fabulous canopy belongs to.
Complete with Cushions, Blankets, and Rugs
Completing your canopied reading corner with a few creature comforts helps to finish off the area and make it extra snug. You’ll want to fill the space with soft, padded furnishings that will allow your students to feel comfy and calm when they use the space and help them focus.
We love these Grab-and-Go Seasons Cushions with nature prints that come with handles making them easy to carry and move around. Our Tree Stump Stool Four Pack comes with unique tree trunk design bean bag stools in varying heights—perfect for a nature or fantasy-themed reading corner.
For free tips, ideas, resources, and more to create the perfect reading corner display have a look at our blog: