We know that children need to grow up around books—lots and lots of books—to grow their brains and language skills, get ready for school and to become lifelong readers.
And, having a designated comfy spot for reading helps encourage children to read too. We call it the 3B’s of creating a reading place: books, book baskets or shelves and a book light or flashlight.
So, we designed our Children’s Reading Place to be full of inviting nooks and crannies in each colourful room. The creative little spaces are perfect spots for children to curl up in with books.
As well as encouraging children to read while visiting us, the tents and alcoves are inspiring others to build their own special reading places at home too. Whether it’s a cozy corner in the family room, a beanbag chair in a child’s bedroom, or a basement tent . . . it can be easy, inexpensive and fun to create your own reading place!
Lori Follis is a volunteer at our Children’s Reading Place, a retired teacher, artist and grandmother. “The wonderful spaces in the house reminded me of a spot under the stairs that we turned into a reading place when my children were little; I was re-inspired to create something for my grandsons when they come to visit,” says Lori. She enlisted help from her two adult children still at home, her husband and brother . . . all while and keeping it a secret from Cade age six, Brady age 4 and their mom, her daughter, Lindsey.
They emptied and converted a tall skinny storage cupboard known by the family as the ‘hidey hole’ into an amazing Indoor Reading Tree House complete with murals, city roads floor map, a ladder and lots and lots of the grandchildren’s books.
Lori and the family then planned a scavenger hunt for the big reveal to the boys on Christmas Day. They gift wrapped individual foam cars and each included a clue to find the next. The last clue led them to the former cupboard door – now decked out with a huge bow. “We helped them open the door and they were amazed!” says Lori. “Cade asked how they were going to get up into the tree house top. We showed them the slide out ladder and up they climbed!”
“The Reading Tree House is cozy and our special place; we have lots of book choices here because they are special and not adults’,” says Cade. The boys love funny books the most and a long-time favourite is Pickle and the Box. They told Grammie Lori that just like the baby named Pickle doing so many things with the box, they can do lots of things in the Reading Tree House. “It’s a good place for pretending,” says Brady.