The Reading Learning Center

When you are starting a preschool or daycare, you are going to set up different learning centers around your classroom. The learning centers are arts, dramatic play, fine motor, gross motor, discovery/science, reading and computer.

What goes into the reading or quiet learning center? This is a place the children can go to sit, be quiet and look at books. It should be in a secluded area of the room. Don’t put the reading learning center next to your gross motor play area. This area gets noisy and you want the reading area to stay quiet and relaxing.

You can help to make the area more secluded by sectioning it off from the rest of the room.

Put a rug down that defines this area. Around the rug, put up dividers of some kind. The dividers could be shelving, boxes or curtains. Make the area feel even more secluded, cozy, like a little nook by putting up a tent. You could also create a tent with blankets over a small table or by hanging sheets or curtains.

Encourage the children to settle in by providing pillows and beanbag chairs. Hard-back chairs in this area are not recommended. Children might like to read to someone, so keep some stuffed animals and dolls for them to show pictures to and to read to. The dolls and animals could be kept in a basket or bucket.

Adults, of course, could join the children in reading. But this is not always possible. So, the adults could read the books into a tape recorder. The children can easily learn how to use it and have their stories read to them. They could also use the tape recorder to record themselves reading. They can come up with some very creative tales based on the picture, especially if it is a book they have not heard before.

Be sure to include lots of books. It is a good ideas to have at least three or four books for each child. I go to the library every week and return the books from last week’s theme. Then I check out new books on the new theme of the week. This keeps the children interested and learning about the theme of the week. Always change the books every week.

You could also include books about different cultures. Children love books without words. Then they can make up their own stories. They also love the baby board books with the thicker pages. Even though you may think that they have outgrown these, you could include some from time to time.

The books should be displayed at the children’s eye level. The children are encouraged to choose their own books and put them back when finished. This helps them learn to be self-sufficient and good citizens.

There are many ways to store and display the books. Traditional shelving is great. Put your reading buddies on the shelves along with the books. Shelving is also available just for displaying books. This is a great investment for your preschool or daycare.

I have seen rain gutters attached to the walls. When books are stored here, they won’t fall out. Spice racks are also a great way to display the books. When books are put on the wall in this manner, they aren’t taking up floor space.

I love to see children reading. It makes my heart soar. Have fun with your reading or quiet learning center in your preschool or daycare. And happy reading.

Mary Beth Collins is a former preschool teacher and high school teacher. She is the mother of 3 grown children and a granddaughter. Now she is developing a blog about everything preschool and has written a superior preschool curriculum.