One of the most effective strategies we have taken on as a school is to have the most amazingly fantastic book corners ever! In fact our book corners are so brilliant we run a yearly competition with a panel of esteemed judges from a variety of educational establishments. The winning class receives book vouchers to keep their shelves stocked up.
There are lots of reasons we create these masterpieces…one of the most important is that school is an oasis, a beautiful, awe-inspiring, exciting and stimulating place to be. We also want he children to have as many experiences of reading real books (not scheme) as possible, we want them to have views on authors and genres. Our children love to curl up in the corners and read or share books.
We keep the areas stocked up by using our SLS (School Library Services) and changing the books on a termly basis – it is a lot cheaper and easier than using huge amounts of budget, plus the books look like new and are age-appropriate.
The corners are normally changed termly and develop throughout a topic – it is really important that there is pupil’s work in there and that they feel a sense of ownership.
Some of our classrooms are really small so we use baskets filled with material and labelled (‘Books of the week’ ‘Do you dare read a spooky story?’ etc..). Lack of space isn’t a good enough reason to not make whatever books you have look beautiful and tempting. I hate walking into classrooms to see shelves piled haphazardly with tatty covers…it feels like the children are being cheated (many of our children live in homes without books) where else are they going to experience those stories that live within us forever?
I was lucky enough to attend Pie Corbett training recently and he talked at length about how important it is for children to have a cosy nook to curl up and read in, somewhere safe and quiet and comfortable. In fact he felt that there needed to be lots of different spaces around the classroom for children to withdraw into, especially in Early Years.
They don’t need to be beautifully decorated corners, they can be boxes, washing baskets, underneath tables or blankets with torches…