Thursday, October 27, 2011

Reading Places

Growing up as the oldest of five, I would have to carve out spaces for myself to hide to find peace and quiet and read.  My brother would read up in a tree in the backyard where no one could reach him.  I found an old rocking chair in the attic, and surrounded by boxes, lit only by a dangling lightbulb, I read through the Little House series.  It was a great space, all mine. 
One of the first questions I used to ask students in my reading classes was, Where do you like to read?  We would discuss places that inspire us.  At the beach, beside a tree, up in the attic.   In my current work I assist teachers in making a library, a place for children to read in a comfortable homelike environment.  Isn't that interesting?  Homelike?  We are trying to make a classroom that feels inviting, just as I am trying to do in my house, family-friendly, kid-friendly spaces.  So I'm beginning to apply the same concepts I use in creating a literacy environment at schools in my home. 
One of my favorite houses ever belongs to my husband's aunt and in it she has a large collection of picture books in a small room with a piano and little trinkets on shelves and nooks to sit and read. There is even a hammock hanging in the family room!   She is my inspiration. 
My goal this week is to create more spaces for curling up with a good book.  Here is my list of things that would be in a great reading nook:
  • a bright window
  • a soft rug
  • a comfy chair (a hammock would be even better)
  • a blanket
  • a basket for paper and pencils in case I'm inspired
  • a small place for my tea
  • lots of good books, on shelves or in baskets
  • soft lighting, soft colors

After making this list, I realized that I needed to change around my living room.  It became quite different after I tried to carry out the list.  I knew I had to make the space feel more cozy, really smaller in scale.  So I moved the couch around to cut the room off a little (it had been under the windows), and added my grandmother's bench as a coffee table.  It's not finished yet, but here is my first draft:
This is opposite the fireplace and the accent wall.  I just hope to find one of my kids lying here one day curled up with a good book!  Then I'll know I created a good reading space!

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