Skip to main content

3 Steps to Create a Montessori Inspired Reading Area

Reading is a hugely important part of our daily lives. Not a single day goes by where we are not reading for an hour or more during the day. In order to make our house as reading friendly as possible, we have several reading areas set up throughout our home. This post features our main reading space in our common living room and 3 Steps to Create a Montessori Inspired Reading Area of your own. Just as we prepare our home for other independent activity -- dressing, eating, working -- it's also important to prepare the environment for reading.

"Having prepared an environment scaled to the child and having been exposed to the freedom created by his impulses toward activity, we have seen characteristics in the child who is tranquilly at work that have never been seen before." Maria Montessori 

3 Steps to Make a Montessori Inspired Reading Area

Creating a child-friendly, independent reading space doesn't have to be hard at all! In fact, a beautiful Montessori inspired reading area can be created in three easy steps! 

This post contains affiliate links at no cost to you.

1. Accessible Shelving

As with any Montessori space, a reading area needs to be accessible to the child. While traditional bookcases may work well for adults, they rarely work for children who need to see the front of the book to remember the title they are searching for. So, with traditional bookcases, they books tend to all get pulled off the shelves and thrown everywhere. In contrast, forward facing bookcases allow for children to independently retrieve and put away books. This makes reading easier and keeps order in a space. 

This shelving does not need to be super expensive large wooden shelving {although many commercial options exist for this too} but it can be as simple a wooden crate or basket on the floor. Small wall frames or picture ledges also work great for holding books and making them accessible for children. Basically, anything that allows your child to gather and put away a book independently will work!

Our bookcase is nothing super fancy, but it is well loved! We use a forward facing double sided wooden bookcase. I found this one at a thrift store for only $14! Using this type of bookcase has made all the difference in our reading area. It keeps things need and draws the children's attention.

2. Add Some Cozy 

Not only do we want a reading nook to be accessible, but we also want it to be cozy and inviting. We want the area to suck children in. Invite them to stay away. To curl up and get lost in the wonder of the book they are reading or looking through.

Small Armchair / Rocker / Chair / Floor Pillow / Rug

Again, this can be achieved in a variety of ways and tailored to your home. It may mean placing the shelving in an actual little nook {like a closet, tent or tight corner}! It may mean adding a child sized chair for your child. Or a larger chair for both of you. In some cases, a floor pillow or a few smaller pillows can create an inviting corner. A soft rug can invite a child to lay down. 

Our main reading area is in the corner off of our living room. So, we've chosen a rug to define the space, but don't include any furniture. Just a few feet away are our couches so if the kids want to sit somewhere other than the floor, or if we want to read together, we can. In some of our other reading areas, we use small chairs and pillows to make the area cozy and fun. 

3. Don't Forget the Little Details

Finally, don't forget about the little details! These are the little things that make the space visually appealing and beautiful. It could be the perfect little lamp, a family picture, a favorite toy. Anything to give the space that extra little pop. I really love plants for this purpose, because not only do they help the environment, but they are beautiful and provide amazing practical life experiences. 

In our space, we have a plant and our Grimm's Rainbow. Both just brighten the space, further calling the kids to explore. We also have our Grimm's pyramid of blocks near by. I often find that a good story will inspire the kids to build all sorts of amazing projects so I love pairing the two together. 

Do you have a reading area in your prepared environment? How do your kids like it? 

3 steps to create a Montessori inspired reading area at home. This post contains tips on how to create a reading friendly home for children.

Looking for Montessori Friendly Books? Don't miss our Products Page!

Popular Posts

The Ultimate Montessori Toy List -- Birth to Five -- UPDATED 2017

When you are interested in Montessori, it can be difficult to know exactly what types of products you should get for your home. Or which types of "Montessori" materials are really worth the price. There are no rules about types of products can use the name Montessori which can add to the confusion. Not to mention, every toy manufacturer slaps the word "educational" on the package for good measure!

2017 UPDATE: This post has been updated to include a variety of brands and new product finds! Just a reminder that no one child will be interested in all of this or needs all of this. These toys are just here to spark ideas and give you a feeling for some Montessori-friendly options available! 

So, with this post, I'm going to try to help with this confusion! Here's a list of Montessori-friendly toys and materials for babies, toddlers and preschoolers. 

First, let's clarify that there is no such thing as a "Montessori toy." Montessori never created to…

Which Open-Ended Toys are "Worth it?"

As a Montessori parent, I try to provide a mix of materials in our home to engage my kids! That work that will spark joy, concentration, and repetition. It's not always an easy task, as Maria Montessori said, "Life is mysterious...only the choice of life can choose the work that the child truly needs. Therefore, the teacher respects this mysterious process and knows to wait with faith." So, there does sometimes feel like there is a bit of trial and error when it comes to choosing materials that your children need. 

For us, the right balance is easier to find when I spend time deeply observing my children. Watching their interests, sitting on my hands if I have to, letting them struggle a little with things, and letting them get bored. And what I have personally found is that here at home, a combination of open ended materials and more structured work have been the right balance. Open ended toys wouldn't necessarily be found in a Montessori classroom, but they are perf…

A Montessori Approach to Purging Your Toys

Becoming a Montessori family has been life changing in so many ways, most obviously with the amount and type of materials we use in our home. Once you see why having so many toys is a problem, or when you make the decision to move towards Montessori, it can be completely overwhelming. But, taking a Montessori approach to purging your toys is possible! And, it doesn't exactly mean that you have to throw away everything you have and start over with only expensive wooden toys. It will mean taking a hard look at what you have and whether it really fits with Montessori.

One note, however, Montessori is at its core about following your child's own path and respecting your child as a whole person. So, if your child has a toy, lovey, book, or whatever that your child super loves or is super attached to, but it doesn't fit Montessori ideals, don't take it away. Follow your child, that is more Montessori than whether or not you own some specific consumer product. 
How to Purge You…