Hallway Sleepover with Books

Feb 17, 2013 by

A few nights ago my kids asked if they could sleep in the hallway. We recently moved to a new home and they told us, “We have never done this before. We want to try it!” We agreed to let them try. A few minutes later they had pulled their blankets and pillows out. I peeked out of my bedroom door and found them like this:

Reading in the hallway

They were each looking through a book of their own choosing. I decided to send the photo to Dr. Sally and Ava, asking them to comment on the image as it relates to “emergent literacy.” Here is how each one replied…

Dr. Sally:

I think the world of this photo is so many ways…

While people today think that play starts with toys, the reality is that it starts with play. First you come up with an idea for a fun activity, and then you select your play materials, also known as toys, to carry out your plan. Your children are playing “sleep-over in the hallway.” Their selected toys are favorite blankets, pillows, and books to read. Hmm, I think they have been growing up in a “language-rich” environment.

If that is not a statement about “emergent literacy,” I don’t know what is! Here you see reading for fun, in a comfortable way, for relaxing to go to sleep, in the unique environment of a hallway with a close sibling for comfort and adventure. How cool is that!

Ava Parnass:

As any great educator knows, learning should be entertaining and fun and kids especially know this! What better way to develop your own emergent literacy activity than creating you own fun? Smart creative kids! Making reading fun can last a lifetime and it’s also a great coping skill in life for many transitions.

Thanks, ladies!



  1. Ava

    Shara everything you write is beautifully written, educational and very poignant!!
    Your kids are very lucky to be growing up as Sally said in such a enriched beautiful environment !
    Thanks for including me in this post and the emergent literacy site!

    • Hi Ava: You’re always too kind to me. Thank you. Just this week my kids told me that they are moving out together and will NEVER return – because they got into trouble for not listening. I’ll save your note so one day, I can show them. LOL 🙂

  2. Hi Shara,

    One of my favorite ways to teach parenting is to find examples of it at its best and then explain how and why it is that way. Play chosen first followed by children creatively selecting their needed toys is what your example is all about. Kudos to you for laying the groundwork for your children to come up with this idea and then for supporting them in carrying it out.Thank you also for my opportunity to teach.

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