Seven Ways to Make Your Book Corner More Accessible for Young Students

The kindergarten book nook is often the first-place children are exposed to books and develop a love of reading. It is usually a welcoming retreat where young students can browse through picture books and make connections between the words and the images on the page.

The challenge for educators is to ensure all students benefit from the book corner. With a little thought and planning, this vital area can become an inclusive and welcoming space for every child regardless of their learning style, abilities and personalities.

Seven common challenges to creating a fully accessible book corner and some tips to overcoming them are as follows:

· An easily distracted young student may stop by the book nook but won’t focus on anything for very long: Locate the book corner in a low traffic area, away from noisy distractions. Stock shelves with books with topics which will interest the student and hook them into staying longer. If a student loves horses, try adding some horse tales to the library.

· Some students have difficulty turning pages, but prefer to read independently: Try making homemade ‘page-turners’ to help children with motor challenges.  Dollar stores often stock stick-on Styrofoam tabs which can be attached to the upper right hand corners of the book pages so they are easier to turn. Board books are also easier to manage.

· Some children are just not interested in the books: Photo albums compiled from class field trips may be of more interest to the young student who is not quite ready to start reading words.

· Children have difficulty operating the CD player to listen to books on tape: Label the start and stop buttons with green and red tape, and mark the parts of the machine with stick-on numbers to illustrate the sequence of steps, as children often need visual cues. Encourage children to listen in pairs with two sets of earphones.

· Some children can’t hold a pencil or crayon: If there is a writing area, ensure there is a way for everyone to express themselves.  Have magnetic or felt letters available.

· Some students have trouble regulating their emotions and can get quite loud: Get an adult to join in with story time. They can encourage children to express their enthusiasm in a less disruptive way.

· Some children may just be learning to talk and their time in the book nook can be used to practice talking: Connect the student with a chatty friend and encourage them to “read” stories to each other. It doesn’t matter if the child makes up the words, but gives them a chance to practice their speech.

For more information on making an accessible book corner, click here.