Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Wire Shelf as Big Book Holder

We do a LOT of movement activities during book readings. While I try to do the movements and hold the book at the same time, I have found that if I clap my one free hand against my leg, then the children will as well, even if they KNOW they should clap properly. Usually I prop it on my feet so my hands are free, but that doesn't work so well if we need to stomp, etc. So a book holder was an absolute must when I revamped the circle time/school area. 

I have a wonderful, HUGE, easel. Unfortunately, it has a little bitty ledge that simply will not hold my big books onto it, or any book that won't lie perfectly flat. It also takes up a huge chunk of real estate that I simply can't spare here. I've been racking my creativity trying to come up with some type of book holder that would

  • Hold the book, even it was a little ungainly/floppy
  • Not have a lip so high that it was difficult to turn the pages without tearing them on the bottom unless I lifted the book up for each page turn
  • Could also be used for normal sized books
  • Wasn't intrusive into the area
  • Was safe if the children tried to climb on it
  • Didn't have sharp edges
  • Would be at a good kid eye-level if they were sitting on the floor

I finally came across this PERFECT solution. Even more perfect, because it was almost FREE, since I already had the shelf and just had to buy the holders.

It holds our big books wonderfully!

It holds the regular-sized books just as well.

This is great because it not only takes up zero real estate, it acts as a barrier to anything I don't want the littler ones to get into readily. It easily lifts up for access the stuff stored behind.

I intended to make a metal or wooden arm that I could fold down from the inside of the cabinet to prop the shelf out at an angle, but I've found that my storage containers provide the perfect angle by pushing the bottom edge out 3 1/2 inches from the shelf. I just prop one behind it when it's time to read. 

Since it only sticks out about an inch on the bottom edge when fully vertical, it doesn't seem to get in the way at all if the children are doing activities on the counter or working on the white board. 

This shelf is approximately 16 inches long. I used a touch of super glue in each of the end caps to make sure they wouldn't pop off to become choking hazards for the littler ones.

I was looking for metal C pipe clamp holders such as this one, but Home Depot didn't have any small enough, though I know they make them. We have some SOMEWHERE at the farm, but I couldn't find them.

Which ended up being a good thing, because I much prefer the ones I got. They are called P Type Rubber Lined Hose Clips Pipe Clamp and Home Depot carries them in the electrical supplies area. They have a soft rubber surround, but a strong metal core. I put them in with some large hefty screws, I believe they are #10s. These shelves are real wood, not particle board. If using particle board shelves, you may want to add an angle bracket or a solid wood piece to secure into.

Tags: reading, read, book, holder, easel, center, circle time, circle, read aloud, storytime, story, time, teaching, preschool, child, care, daycare, pre-k, kindergarten