independent reading furniture

Has anyone had a couch in their reading area? I am reluctant to get one for my middle school R180 classes. Bean bags have not worked for me as students tend to get too comfortable and doze off! The unbrella chairs lasted 2 years before ripping at seams. What works for everyone else?

Posted on: September 24 2009
Flag this discussion
  • SuzannePuccerella

    We have seen many classes use camping chairs in the IR area, so we now have one with a READ 180 logo on it. http://shop.scholastic.com/webapp/wcs/stores/servlet/ProductDisplay_64900_-1_10001_10002 Good Luck!


    I have seen all kinds of arrangements of furniture--couches, recliners, camp chairs, bean bag chairs, pillows, etc.  Would some of you post pictures of your classrooms so we can see what you are using.

    I se old wooden rocking chairs. One was from my grandmother's house and the other was donated by another teacher. The kids love them. 

    I use camping chairs. The students love them. I purchased a type that has a removeable and washable seat material. I don't like bean bags because I feel like I can't get them clean. The camping chairs can also be easily moved around.

    Hi: Dee is right, there are so many ways to make the Independent Reading area a comfortable and productive place for your students!  Here is one picture I wanted to share as an example! 

    I would not suggest bean bags. Students spend a lot of time "situating" themselves and not reading. The individual papasan chairs from Walmart sounded like a good idea to me.

    I had purchased small papasian chairs from walmart. They are comfortable, separate, off the ground, and fire proof. They were in the college 09 department of Walmart!

    My district ordered me blue rockers (the ones used for video games) but they did not come in until late October.  So I used canvas folding chairs with a bright striped comforter as a rug underneath.  The photo is from a week before school so not much is up on the walls.  Now I have both the rockers and canvas chairs.  The kids love them. 

    I bought four sturdy chairs from Office Depot.  To make them a little more comfortable, I sewed pillowcases to match my room decor.  Vadim is shown here enjoying his book.

    I have a small room and need something that did not take up a lot of space. We purchased video rockers for the modeled and independent reading center. I can fit 5-6 in my tiny reading area and this at least gets the kids off the floor and provides back support for them while they read. In order to help students understand the importance of taking good care of them, They also stack up easily if we need the space. I let students sit on the floor for a week before they were able to sit in the rockers. I put signs on them that read, DO NOT SIT IN ROCKERS, this seemed to peek their interests and they were all excited for the time when they would get to sit in them. I asked students after a week to tell me how it was to sit on the floor. I then had a student model what it was like to sit in a video rocker. I asked the student to tell us which was better... Most always, the student says the rocker. I shared that they needed to keep this in mind the rest of the year as they used the video rockers. As I talked about the what's and what not to's of the chairs, I wrapped it up by explain that at any time, if I saw they were being abused, they were back to the floor. I love them, and the students have enjoyed and respected them this entire year!

    I have a couch and 2 matching chairs. Every once in awhile some student trys to lay down with their feet over the side, but I have small group next to them and immediately ask them to sit up properly. I have seven students in each of my rotation groups. I haven't had a big problem, and the students really think of themselves as special. The couch presents a cozy atmosphere. If I had more room, I would have put individual chairs, but the couch saves room. 

    The bean bag chairs were terrible! Many children would fall asleep. We just got video game rockers and they seem to work much better.

    I love the idea of using camping chairs with colored rugs. I like the mobility of the camp chair (and the fact that it does not recline nor have wheels) and the homey-ness of the rugs). Thanks for the great suggestions!

    I know that less expensive sofas do not work.  Right now the cushions are sinking down to the floor.  To much usage when you have 3 sessions a day

    I have a creamy, leather couch in my reading area that can be easily wiped down weekly. It has been great for the kids. I do not allow more that 2 at a time during Ind. Reading, but when we go to a Reading Circle, 3 or 4 will sit there. It is facing my small group area so that I can see what is going on at all times!

    the longer the year goes on, the more I dislike the rockers. I only have rockers and canvas camping chairs, no table at my reading station. I have clipboards for the kids to use to help with writing; but some kids spend more time getting in and out of the rocker than actually working!

    We have two bean bag chairs and one Flip style chair.  The flip was only 5 bucks at a thrift store and the kids love it.  As long as they don't sleep they can open it out and stretch out.  Bean bag chairs worked out better than I thought they would.  The kids like them and so far no sleepers.  I have had more kids fall asleep at tables with their heads down "reading."  


    I have a couch, a rocker, and a couple of "study pillows". I usually keep 2-3 on the couch for IR and I have one student that always finds a seperate place with the study pillow. I use my reading area with other classes for "relaxed lectures" from Ancient Greece to current events! All my 7th graders know the rules for the couch and I haven't had any problems in 2 years. My rocker has taken the most abuse over the years, its 30 yrs old and, probably, won't last another year. :(

    I'm hoping for a bigger room next year.  I have a few rockers on my porch and I could spare one for reading.  I could use the class as a place to store them for the winter!  This year there was just not space for any hard furniture.  Maybe next year.


    I have one rocker chair, and some lawn chairs. I am going to get camping chairs when they go back on sale. The lawn chairs are working fine, but very stiff.

    I have had much success with two lightweight (plastic) Adirondack chairs and a small rug.  The chairs were inexpensive and hold up great - light enough to move around if I have to and the rug helps to set the tone for quiet reading.

    I also have had the best luck with PVC outdoor chairs, which I found at Walmart at the end of summer marked down to $10 each.  They are the 1st chair I have tried that is still going strong after a year.  Beanbags were horrible, no better than sitting on the floor.  Video rocker chairs were too flexible and students would rock back and forth, or fall asleep.  The fold-up camping chairs (from Dicks) did not make it through a full year before the canvas ripped.  

    Featured Discussions
    Tips for New READ 180 Teachers
    Think back to your first year teaching READ 180.  What is the one thing that you wish you knew then that you know now?
    Motivating Students on Software
    My students are in the early stages of System 44.  Most of them started at Series 1 and have worked their way into Series 3.  Over the course of time, some of them are…
    Assessment & Data
    Discussions from colleagues on using key implementation and student performance metrics to drive instruction.
    Classroom Instruction
    Discussions from colleagues on implementing clear organization for instruction and classroom activity, and maintaining student engagement.
    Professional Development
    Discussions from colleagues on fostering and sustaining best teaching practices in the reading intervention classroom.
    Special Education
    Discussions from colleagues on targeting the specific skill deficits and unique instructional needs of a Special Education student.
    Discussions from colleagues on using the READ 180 technology components to provide intensive, individualized instruction.
    System 44
    Discussions from colleagues on maximizing System 44 instruction to help students master foundational reading skills.