“Mom, I’m bored!” My ten year old son slumps down on the couch with a frown on his face and adds, “I hate Sundays! Why do we have to have no technology on Sundays, it is soooo boring!”
Sighing, I put down my newest novel. “Well, why don’t you read something?”
His next words, hit me hard, “I don’t like reading!”
I stare at him in disbelief. This is the boy who used to build forts and pile every book he owned into it so he could read them all. This is the child who used to lay on his back under a tree and giggle while looking at picture books. I am certain he likes reading!
I realize, however, that he was always finding special nooks in which to read. Perhaps he needs a space dedicated to the whimsy of story to re-ignite his love for books.
“Let’s build a fort,” I exclaim.
“Oh yeah,” He replies and begins throwing the couch cushions on the floor. I grin and retrieve our quilts from the hallway.
To my joy and my son’s satisfaction, the fort proves a worthy space to snuggle with our pup and read.
You see it wasn’t enough just to have tech-free days or insist on reading time, a designated reading nook was the key for active, sustained reading. Over the years, my son and I have created multiple reading nooks. Here are five of our favorite ideas.
1. Bed on the porch
We have not always had a porch big enough for this idea, but the years spent at the “Blue house” were delightful, mostly because of this special space. The wrap around porch had a niche on one end, perfect for a twin size bed. Curtains, fluffy pillows and a pot of hot tea made it a place for reading, chatting and Sunday afternoon naps. We even brought out our vintage record player and played our Audubon bird record. This often attracted neighboring calls from our real feathered friends. Reading on the porch was a sought after activity at our house. We happily shared this magical space as we devoured our newest novels together.
2. Glamping in the Living Room
The middle of winter is not ideal for hanging out on the front porch, so we decided to create a space inside. When we realized that our camping tent could be erected without it’s stakes, we popped it up in the living room. We had a wonderful time, filling it with throw rugs, mattresses, pillows and stools. We even strung Christmas lights inside. This space shines in my memory like fairies, flitting through a forest on a starry night. What a joy to lie in that space reading and dreaming together!
3. Hammocks in the Backyard
The Christmas I bought everyone hammocks, I had visions of us camping with our hammocks rising above the floor of the forest one on top of the other. Though that is still on my bucket list, the hammocks only made it as far as our backyard. However, a good book, a pillow, a blanket and two trees transported my growing pre-teen to worlds far away. He eagerly carried his latest book out to the hammock and swung for hours reading and resting.
4. Box Fort/Maze in the Bedroom
This nook took more time to make than its life span. However, it was inspired by a book series that included mazes. We used folded boxes to create a maze that reached from the hallway into the bedroom. I was amazed at my son’s creativity and perseverance. Since I was not small enough to crawl through the maze, I can only assume he read his stash of books in the den made out of an oven box. When the maze came down, I realized he also had been writing on the walls of the oven box. “The hatch marks are for the days stuck in the maze,” he explained with a grin.
5. Canopy in the Cupboard
Though I have sons, I am a girlie girl at heart. I cannot admit to this nook being my son’s favorite, but it was mine. I found a white hooped canopy at a garage sale and wondered for years what to do with it. By bending the hoop, I was able to hang it from a rod in our big, Narnia-sized wardrobe. The lengths of gauzy material were a bit long so I looped them over the rod and let them hang down the walls of the interior of the cupboard. With a small string of Christmas tree lights this little space might just become your child’s favorite. I just wish it was big enough for an adult. But perhaps that’s the point.
Creating reading nooks does take time and a little creativity. I’ve never regretted spending a few hours establishing these special spaces. In fact, I rejoice in the many times my son has said, “I love reading in this nook!”
Share about your favorite reading nook in the comments below!