Classroom reading tents are commonly used in classroom reading nooks and reading corners. These tents need to be large enough to provide comfortable and inviting spaces for students to do independent reading, calming down strategies, or meditation. The main purpose of classroom reading tents is to encourage and promote reading among students. These types of reading tents vary from pyramid shaped to dome shaped tents. Teachers usually add comfortable seating on the floor and a supply of books.
Why Should We use Classroom Reading Tents?
The benefits of classroom reading tents are that they encourage reading, make a cozy space, reduce distractions, enhance imagination, cultivate a love for reading, and promote independent reading.
Encourage Reading: Creating a dedicated space for reading can spark students’ interest in books and make reading a more enjoyable activity.
Make a Cozy Environment: Classroom reading tents provide a comfortable and relaxed environment that can help students feel more at ease while reading.
Reduce Distractions: The enclosed space of the tent can help minimize visual and auditory distractions, allowing students to focus better on their books.
Cultivate a Love for Reading: The positive association of reading with a cozy and enjoyable space can lead to a lasting love for reading among students.
Promote Independent Reading: Classroom reading tents offer a space where students can read independently, promoting self-directed learning.
Tips for Setting Up Classroom Reading Tents
Before you set up your tent, you first need to choose the size and shape of the tent based on the space you have to place it in your classroom. Then you have to consider your classroom theme and colors.
Your tent can match your classroom theme: Finding a tent that can blend in with the rest of your class decor would make your tent seem to fit right in, like a puzzle piece. This can work for color themes or interest themes. The classroom above has a camping theme and the tent matches perfectly with the camping scene on the wall tapestry. The other classroom has a black and white theme and the white and gray tent goes well with the theme. The stripes make them blend.
Choose a Spacious Location: Select a suitable corner or area in the classroom that is spacious enough to accommodate the reading tent without disrupting the flow of the classroom.
Keep a plush rug under your tent: To make sitting inside the tent more comfortable, have a small plush rug under it to keep the seating area cushioned for your students. You can also add soft floor cushions, seat pillows, or bean bags, inside the tent, and comfortable chairs around it to create a cozy reading space. For the types of seating cushions you can use, see different examples in this blog post about flexible seating.
A neutral color can be used: A neutral color tent would go well with most classroom themes and that way, they can be used each year. This white tent is being used in a woodland themed classroom. It comes with fairy lights.
Include a Variety of Books: Fill the reading tent with a diverse selection of age-appropriate books that cater to different interests and reading levels. Periodically change the books available in the reading tent to keep students interested and engaged.
Decorate the Space: Make the reading tent visually appealing with colorful decorations like pompom garlands, tassel garlands, or fairy lights, to add a touch of magic. The lights can be used to signal that it is reading time. I personally prefer to have the lights separate from the tent. They can be hung from the ceiling above the tent with the use of ceiling hooks. Alternatively, you can decorate the corner wall behind the tent with lights. Tents that have string lights in them can pose a fire risk. See lots of different string light and fairy light options in this blog post.
Encourage Quiet Time: Remind students to use the reading tent for quiet reading and reflection to maintain a peaceful atmosphere. You can set aside specific reading periods during the school day when students can use the reading tent.
using a Classroom tent as a calm down corner
A large classroom reading tent can be turned into a calm down corner. The color of the tent should be a solid light color, preferably white. Items in the tent should not have colors or patterns that can be overstimulating. This white calm down corner tent is sturdy enough to withstand pulling and the inside looks very inviting. The walls are covered with calming corner posters and there are soft pillows and plush toys on the small mattress. Students can use this space to practice grounding techniques.
Overall, the goal of classroom reading tents (and classroom reading nooks) is to create a welcoming space that encourages students to explore the joy of reading, and foster a love of books. A lot of the planning that goes into designing a reading nook would also apply to how you can decorate your reading tent. So feel free to check out this post about Classroom Reading Nook Ideas.
Here are related blog posts about reading in the classroom: