Reading

Tips for creating reading-friendly spaces

Reading benefits kids (and adults!) in countless ways. Depending on the age, books help children and teens with things like: developing a foundation of language; forming social skills and speaking skills; learning about their world; increasing vocabulary; and improving familiarity with different types of literature. Moreover, literacy and education are directly correlated to health outcomes. By developing reading habits as early as possible, you can establish healthy habits of lifelong reading. CHIL has compiled the following tips for creating a reading-friendly space, applicable for whether the space be your home, your classroom, or any other place you frequently spend time.

  • Have a variety of different reading materials and/or media available. This can be anything from magazines to audio books to comics. By having different options available, you and/or kids you care for are bound to be excited by at least one of them!

  • Have books handy. Keep them in the living room, near the toys, or on the bedside table. Make them as accessible as possible.

  • Make a special, inviting reading place. Do this by ensuring the area has good lighting and is comfortable and enjoyable to sit in for extended periods of time. Consider limiting the technology and screens available in the space, if possible. Instrumental music can also add to a calming, cozy reading environment.

  • Have materials handy that encourage creativity, in case you want to write a piece of your own, or your child wants to draw out a book’s storyline!

Creating a positive reading environment can do wonders in nudging kids and teens to read more. As many across the country are beginning their extended winter breaks from school, consider what small changes can be made to facilitate reading-friendly spaces during the holidays!



Being Mindful: Coping with the Stresses of a Student’s Life

Students may face a different kind of stress compared to people who work. Before college, the school day ends at a certain time, but with homework, studying, and projects, there doesn’t really seem to be a definitive end to the school day. After high school, the division between the school day and the rest of the day blurs even further when there is always something we could be studying or reading for.

 

In this kind of environment, it can be easy to feel overwhelmed with work and stress. On top of that, students of all ages might feel competition among their friends, further complicating the school and social life balance. What are some tips for managing these stressors?

 

Get Organized. Juggling all our commitments in our head is unnecessarily stressful. There are many physical planners and productivity apps available to help us manage deadlines and test dates. Choosing one that works for you might take some time, but will definitely pay off in the long-run! The key is not to let the planner/organizer stress you out further. Each day can begin or end with a recap of things to do, and crossing off accomplished tasks can be really satisfying! Planners can also help you avoid overbooking yourself.

 

Get Help, If You Need. This could simply mean asking a friend or teacher for help on understanding a new concept covered in class. This could also mean asking a trusted adult or advisor for help navigating changes difficult to face alone: a parent, a doctor, or a teacher are all great starting points for questions about politics, gender and sexuality, or social phenomena we see everyday. The internet is full of information and can be a tempting go-to but it’s easy to get lost in a sea of opinions out there.

 

Breathe. This is meant both literally and figuratively - we need to relax! In our fast-paced lives, it takes effort and planning to do so. Taking a few minutes each day (such as signing up for the eMindful Challenge) to try some meditation techniques can help us clear our mental clutter, which can make facing the next task easier. If meditation isn’t for you, that’s okay - there are other ways to relax productively such as putting down your smartphone for at least a few minutes. Some of our friends use cooking, baking, exercising, reading, writing, just to name a few, as ways to decompress. The point is to challenge yourself to do something that you might continue to benefit from. For example, if you make a healthy snack now, it means you’re less likely to go grab fast food later. If you read a book by your favorite author now, you can remember it later and enjoy it then too.

 

Sarah is CHIL's lead blogger and currently a student at UPenn with plans to attend medical school in the future. To decompress, Sarah likes to go running or do crossword puzzles.