One of the most effective ways to promote literacy in your classroom is by creating an independent reading space that’s welcoming and inviting.

If your students have a comfortable place to read with a collection of well-organized, high-interest books to choose from, they’ll become more engaged in their reading and be able to think critically about it, too. More importantly, they’ll become stronger readers in the process.

Here are more ways to make your independent reading space even more welcoming and inviting:

Organize Your Books

A well-organized reading space is essential to your students’ reading success. Book bins are a must-have for effective organization. As your reading space grows, you’ll also want to consider organizing your books by level.

The Scholastic Book Wizard is a huge help when it comes to organizing books and it’s also a great tool for finding books that meet the needs of all your readers. Get more ideas for how to organize your independent reading space and overall classroom.

Add to the Atmosphere

What surrounds your students while they read has a big effect on their reading success. You’ll definitely want to add décor that will encourage reading but won’t distract your young readers from the task at hand.

Bulletin boards will not only add some color to your reading space and liven up the atmosphere, they’re great reference tools for students to learn about, and better understand, key character traits and text structures they’ll discover in their reading.

Keep It Fresh

Creating monthly themes — or weekly! — is another great way to make your reading space more welcoming and keep your students engaged. Your themes can be inspired by your students’ favorite characters like Dog Man or centered around important historical events.

Embrace Light, Space, and Comfort

Great light, ample space, and plenty of comfort are the three key ingredients of a welcoming reading space. If possible, position your reading space near a window to bring in natural light. If not, add a few lamps to provide light for reading.

You’ll also want to create a reading space with enough room for multiple students to read independently at the same time without them distracting one another. And of course, your reading space has to be comfortable — think bean bags and soft, oversized pillows — but not too comfortable. You definitely don’t want your students falling asleep!

Line Your Shelves With High-Interest Books

Stocking your reading space with titles your students want to read is a sure-fire way to encourage independent reading. As you get to know your students better during the school year and can gauge what topics they’re in to, be sure to add books that will not only speak to their interests but will also challenge them to think critically. For young readers, in grades 3-5, these book lists are a great place to start:

Shop top-selling titles and book sets for independent readers below! You can find all books and activities at The Teacher Store

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