Sunday, March 9, 2014

Bright Ideas Blog Hop

Hey Everyone!
I'm so excited to be participating in the Bright Ideas Blog Hop!

In my classroom, I like to make read-to-self a relaxed and cozy time.  I want my students to be able to curl up with a good book and enjoy that time with it.  So one thing I do during read-to-self is turn off all of the harsh classroom lights (I have heard they are bad on our eyes… yikes) and turn on a bunch of lamps and hanging lanterns.  I even like to turn on a few strands of twinkle lights :).  This makes the atmosphere of the room nice and cozy and just perfect for reading.  The second thing I do is let each student read at a different "Book Nook".  Let me explain…

We have 6 different book nooks in our classroom that students rotate through: the barber chair, the pretty chair, carpet squares, whisper phones, crate seats, and t-shirt pillows.  These book nooks are different places the students can read in the classroom, instead of just sitting at their boring old, stiff seats.  It helps make our read-to-self time more relaxed and comfortable.

Sorry the picture is a little fuzzy, my phone doesn't take the best pictures :(.

Here are all of our book nooks.  Each book nook is written on a cute cutout and each student's name is written on a clip.  Everyday I rotate the students one clip space… I don't rotate their clip to the next book nook, just to the next clip space, so sometimes a student may have the same book nook for a few days in a row.  I keep a certain number of students on each book nook (depending on how many we have available in our classroom).  So, for example, we only have one barber chair so there is only one clip on that book nook but we have multiple carpet squares so a few clips can be on that book nook.

These are our book nooks…
This is our Barber Chair.

 We call this our Pretty Chair. 

These are our Carpet Squares.

We also use Whisper Phones.

And we have some Crate Seats. 

But the favorite of all book nooks is… T-Shirt Pillows! 

The t-shirt pillows are always a student favorite.  They love to curl up and read with a t-shirt pillow on the floor.  And the best part is… they are SUPER easy to make!  I made all of these myself.  All you need are a few old t-shirts, some inexpensive stuffing (I got mine from Walmart) and basic sewing skills.  You just sew all of the open edges of the t-shirt, leaving the neck open.  Then stuff the t-shirt as full as you'd like it.  Last, sew the neck closed.  Ta-Da! It is as easy as that.  They can be hard to store if you have larger t-shirts, so I had my handy husband make me a chest/bench to store mine in.  It worked out perfect because I also needed a step for my kiddos to reach my SmartBoard…

Of course I had to add some bright paint to it… but it is perfect for storing t-shirt pillows and a perfect step for my kiddos to reach the SmartBoard.

My kiddos love, love, love when they get to read with a t-shirt pillow.  Don't they just look like such cozy readers…

I was always that student that did not like read-to-self.  I hated sitting at my seat staring at a book… but I do remember LOVING read-to-self in one class where I got to sit in a bathtub full of t-shirt pillows.  It was always a special treat to get to sit in the tub of t-shirt pillows and I loved my reading time in there.  I wanted to make my students have special little reading memories and help those reluctant readers enjoy read-to-self time a little more, so I started these books nooks.  

Next up on the blog hop is Casey from Second Grade Math Maniac!  Casey has a great post all about organizing math stations.

Alternatively, you can search by topic using the link-up below and move along to any other blog on the blog hop!


  1. Wow! I love the idea of t-shirt pillows! I am adding them to my summer to-do list now! Plus I love your step for your students to reach the Smartboard - some of my little shorties have difficulties reaching the top area of the board - love that you combined storage with a function! Thanks for the ideas!

    Jennifer @ Herding Kats in Kindergarten

  2. I LOVE the tshirt pillows! What a great idea. Thanks for sharing.


  3. Oh my goodness! Love the t-shirt pillows. I'm thinking that's the perfect use for left over school t-shirts the PTA might have. ~Melissa

  4. Great way to be sure everyone gets their turn in the favorite reading spots! Love the t-shirt pillows!!
    Conversations in Literacy

  5. Love the t-shirt pillows! I did book nooks when I was in second grade and my kids thought they were the best thing ever! I did a similar clip rotation so there was no arguing over a spot. I know that I love to read in a comfortable spot (not just at a desk), so I made sure that they had that option too.

    Sara :)
    The Colorful Apple

  6. The last few years I've started letting each student to bring a mini-pillow to school to use during Read to Self time. It has been THE BEST!!! The store them at the bottom of the shelf assigned to their table and there is NO complaining about reading time. They absolutely love it! Your t-shirt pillows are so adorable I may have to make some of those for students who don't ever bring their own pillow to school. Thanks!

  7. I soooo need to add some book nooks to my classroom!!! LOVE these ideas, friend!!!
    :) Lisa
    Growing Firsties