Sunday, October 9, 2016

A Special Place to Read: Our School Reading Lounge is Ready!

Prepare yourself:
As you read this post, you may find yourself wanting to make a cup of coffee, curl up in a cozy blanket, and read a delicious book.
That's because this post is all about a special spot in my school: our reading lounge.

Also prepare yourself because I am so very in love with this room that I took about 5,000 pictures. It was very hard to choose which 429 of them to include in this blog post. So be ready for photo overload. I can't help it. It's too beautiful!
A reading lounge, according to Stephen Layne in Igniting a Passion for Reading, is a dedicated place for students to read and learn to love reading. There's a link to this gem of a book on the bottom of this post!

A few years ago, my teachers and I did a book study on this book and fell in love with the idea. Three years later, we are the proud owners of this gorgeous space!

How do we use the reading lounge?

We have a sign-up binder with a calendar on the counter. There are 30-minute time slots that teachers can sign up for at their convenience.

Teachers bring their classes in to the lounge to read! Kids arrive with their books and choose a comfy spot to read. During this time, many teachers work with a small reading group or literature circle, or they have reading conferences to talk to kids about their reading!
The basic expectations are that kids will read the whole time, keep their feet on the floor (not on the furniture), leave the furniture where it is rather than moving it around, only read in the lounge when a teacher is present, and respect the other readers by remaining reasonably calm and quiet. 

 We've also talked about having the kids come share their own writing in the reading lounge.

How did we furnish the reading lounge?

When we first started, we asked teachers for donations. They brought in a couch, a loveseat, a couple lamps, and some little storage cubes. I also purchased camp chairs for five dollars each from a sports supply store and some beanbags from Target.

The school paid for our rugs from Lakeshore.

And then came the big boost! I wrote a grant sponsored by Price's Creameries and we received $3000.00 to create our dream reading lounge!

Apparently, Price's recorded a video of me on the day of this grant awards breakfast. So now I'm on a commercial on one of the Spanish TV channels! They keep looking at me funny when I walk into classrooms, and then they say, "I saw you on TV!"

We hired our incredible art teacher to paint the room in a garden theme, bought new couches and lamps, and of course, books! Those were for our Multiple Copies Lending Library (more on that later!).  One of our lovely teachers made the adorable rag curtains, too.

After we finished all of our work with the grant, we had a "Grand Opening!" Each teacher received a beautiful garden themed bookmark purchased by my assistant principal, and an ideas handout for using the lounge and the multiple copies lending library. 


 Want a guided tour? Check out the video!

Grab the book that inspired us:

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