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Several weeks ago I asked for your best story area decorations and of course, there 
were wonderful replies.  Thanks to all who made suggestions!

I have a little puppet theater in my story area and story character puppets - my 
students love it.  I also have a lot of donated beanie babies that I match up to 
books by character and the students read the books to the characters and even 
sometimes check them out with their books.  (This is an inner city school).

I bought my book lamp at Hobby Lobby.  They have many book-themed items 
that might work.  Also, Children's Book Council has a nice catalog.  I 
think there's a book throw in it.  I have the BookWoman throw over my 
reading chair.
I have seen the following set up in two schools which seen to use this 
reading area quite often. 
As a matter of fact your semi-closed space is the perfect start. 
The set up consists of some huge steps made of wood and covered with rug. 
The steps are done in a semi-circle or a semi-stop sign shape which allows 
the student to sit on a step and lean back against the side of the upper 
The set up resembles a small theatre which allows each student to have a 
clear view of the person doing the read out loud. I have seen an entire 
lower grade k-3 fit at one time on these steps.
I found a lady selling wooden books at a craft fair, they had book titles on the 
spine, I bought 5.  I then had a friend drill a hole through the center of them and 
then added a lamp kit that I bought at Lowe's.  I bought a lamp shade that you 
could cover with material at Hobby Lobby and I found some material that had 
bookworms on it and covered the shade.  It is really cute, if I say so myself.  The 
students are always making comments on it, I have it sitting on a small table by 
the chair that I sit in.
check out they have wonderful furniture and things.  You may 
not be able to afford their stuff, but they may inspire you.
How about lap-sized stuffed animals or book characters that the kids can 
read to or check out along with an appropriate book?
I'm not sure if this is in the archives anywhere, 
but I do know what my K-5 students consider 
one of the most memorable features of the 
library: the rug. Mature 8th graders, coming 
back to visit, say with real affection "the rug 
is still here!" Of course it is. They love it. They 
love it so much that I shopped for a 2nd rug, 
so that Easy and Fiction would each have one. 
Both are almost 9' x 12'. Both come from 
Childcraft (the Pond rug with the small bridge, 
and the Ocean rug with the orca and other sea 
life). Both are much loved at my K-5. In addition 
to the extra beauty of something on the floor, 
it makes the floor an attractive place for the 
kids to stick when they grab a book off the 
shelf and sit down to read.
When I was little and used to go to the public library for storytimes, they had a 
great mural painted on the wall. It was full of kids reading, climbing trees, 
flying a kite, etc. I still remember it vividly today and was greatly upset when 
the building was sold and the mural wall destroyed. Depending on your storytime set 
up, you might consider a mural like that.
The thing we have we love the most is a three tier story terrace.  We use if 
for every class when we do story sessions.  We have found it increases 
student comfort, decreases the wiggles, helps focus attention, and works 
well as a deterrent to bad behavior, when those students who can't behave 
are told they can't sit on it.  It was purchased for us by our parent 
organization, and has been one of the best things we ever did.
I just purchased a bunch of puppets - finger and hand 
-  from Penworthy. Great decorations and story props.
In the past I have done that went over well were 

An oriental carpet (@$100) It was my magic carpet because when we were 
reading we were magically transported . . . 
We had bean bag chairs, too. 

I had a teepee @$800 The kids got points for reading books and when they 
got a certain # of books read and earned points, they were allowed to 
read in the teepee.  The teepee was canvas with willow poles.  It was 
about 8' diameter.  We had teachers paint Native American / Indian 
symbols on the outside of the teepee.  The teepee actually set up pretty 
well; it took 2 people.  I put pillows and cushions inside. 

For older kids I did wicker furniture.  It was inexpensive, cute and the 
color scheme was easily changed by getting cushions from Home Depot, 
Walmart or ?????  I had 2 chairs and a love seat with a small table.  I 
got a place mat that matched the cushions for the "table cloth" on the 

What I have always wanted to do and hope to get it done someday, is a 
claw foot bathtub with blankets and pillows so the kids could read in 
the tub.  Well, someday!!!!! 
I love my ABC gridded rug from Demco. 
I am able to make a seating chart and finally learn the little ones' names! 
I like it better than other designs because each child can be assigned a square for 
the year.
They have table lamps that are made out of stacked books.

Diane Averett/Librarian
Kerr-Vance Academy
700 Vance Academy Rd.
Henderson, NC  27537

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