Rain Gutter Bookshelves

Classroom at First-Centenary United Methodist Church Children's Enrichment Center, Chattanooga, Tennessee
Are those rain gutters inside the building? Yes!

Rain gutter bookshelves are designed to entice children to pick up books . They may see a book with a kitty or an airplane, and because the cover art grabs their attention, they ask an adult to read the book to them. The great part of having a wide variety of books displayed in such an appealing fashion, is that children can be encouraged to discover new genres of books. Children may be curious about images shown on the cover of new books, and want to see what that book is all about. By creating a love of books at a very early age, parents and educators can change the attitude in children that reading is a chore to be done for schoolwork instead of pleasure.

Bookshelves at First-Centenary Chattanooga, TN
Bill Thurman is an advocate for these special shelves that encourage children to pick up books. "It's the same idea as facing cereal boxes out in the grocery store: The cover is marketing, so why hide it? (Thurman)" Staff at the institutions that utilize rain gutter bookshelves state that keeping the books on the shelves has proven to be the hardest part! Something about this display tactic entices children to pick up the books. Staff members at the various facilities spend a large part of the day putting books back on the shelves after the kids have perused them. This is what the Read Aloud initiative is all about- encouraging children to have a love for books.

Downspout on rain gutter bookshelves
 In combination with a comfortable reading area, the rain gutter bookshelves provide a stimulating environment to encourage an interest in reading books. Design elements like the bright paint colors, murals, and the use of downspouts produce a space that attracts children like magnets. Things that may seem insignificant like pillows scattered on the floor in a corner aid in making the act of reading something that is to be a pleasurable leisure activity. The research done by Jim Trelease, author of The Read Aloud Handbook, concludes that the most important thing we can do for our children is to create the perception that reading is pleasurable.

Would you like to use this excellent tool to promote reading in your own household? Below is an installation guide for rain gutter bookshelves, taken from a pamphlet created by Akira Matsuzawa, Holly Tomasson, Mohit Verma, and John Witmer, students at the Georgia Institute of Technology (1-4).

Excerpt from "Guide to Rain Gutter Bookshelves" created by Matsuzawa, Thomasson, Verma and Witmer


  1. Wow, that is an intense reading corner! We absolutely love the way you put a downspout on it like a real gutter pan! We just installed rain gutter bookshelves in our nursery and can't wait for our little boy to enjoy it :)

    1. Thank you for taking time to add your comments. I viewed your blog and I am happy to see that this wonderful idea is reaching parents! I think your shelves are perfect for a child's room, and I appreciate you adding your link here so others can see that a smaller scale works as well. These shelves photographed above are in schools and day care centers in Chattanooga, TN. I am glad you found my site, and I hope you will continue to share rain gutter bookshelves with other parents you come across!

  2. Thank you so much for providing installation instructions! That would definitely help out some of our DIY-ers out there. I agree with you that these gutters will definitely encourage kids to read seeing as they see the covers, and kids are very visual-oriented and are attracted to great pictures. Better childproof the edges of those gutters though, just to be safe!

    Simone Right

    1. It's been some time since your comment, but I really appreciate you taking the time to do so! The guide was definitely made with DIY-ers in mind! Using caps to close off the ends of the gutters will eliminate any sharp edge!

  3. This comment has been removed by the author.

  4. Wow! You even included a simple tutorial! Thanks for this! I do believe rain gutter bookshelves are a great idea as they are a great way to display picture books, which can definitely raise the interest of the kids and get them into reading.
    Jashen McLaren

    1. Thanks so much for taking a moment to leave a comment! The whole purpose is to put books on display- to create a display that draws the attention of small children to the books- that's the first step!

  5. Reading Makes Your Child Smarter

    Reading is known to have numerous benefits. It increases your world knowledge, enhances your vocabulary, and works to improve your reading comprehension abilities.

    But did you know that reading can actually make you smarter?

    In fact, reading not only can make a child smarter, the very act of reading can even help to compensate for modest levels of cognitive ability in children by building their vocabulary and general knowledge! This is a finding reported by researchers Cunningham and Stanovich in a report titled "What Reading Does For the Mind".

    The simple fact here is that reading can make your child smarter, and that learning to read early on is directly linked to later success in life.

    1) Did you know that your child's vocabulary at 3 years old predicts his or her grade one reading success? [1]

    2) Did you know that vocabulary and reading ability in first grade strongly predicts grade 11 outcomes? [2]

    3) Did you know that your child's reading skill in grade 3 directly influences high school graduation? Studies have found that children who cannot read proficiently by grade 3 are four times more likely to leave school without a diploma than proficient readers! [3]

    >> Give your child the best possible head start. Teach your child to read today. Click here to learn how.

    But how do you teach a young child to read, and isn't that the job of the school and teachers?

    You can't be more wrong...

    With the right tools, knowledge, and techniques, teaching young children to read can be a simple and effective process. I'd like to introduce you to a fantastic reading program called Children Learning Reading, a super effective method for teaching children to read - even children as young as just 2 or 3 years old.

    The creators of this program have used it to teach their four children to read before age 3, and by reading, I mean real, phonetic reading.

    I can understand if you find that hard to believe... In fact, I had a difficult time believing it myself as well... that is, until I saw the videos they posted documenting the reading progress of the their children - not to mention all the videos other parents have sent in showcasing their children's reading progress after using the Children Learning Program. After learning more about their methods and techniques, it became clear how it's possible to teach young children to read effectively.

    It is truly within your ability to teach your child to read in a relatively short period of time spending just 10 to 15 minutes each day.

    >> Click here now to watch the videos and start teaching your child to read.

    1. Vocabulary Development and Instruction: A Prerequisite for School Learning
    Andrew Biemiller, University of Toronto

    2. Early reading acquisition and its relation to reading experience and ability 10 years later.
    Cunningham AE, Stanovich KE.

    3. Double Jeopardy How Third-Grade Reading Skills and Poverty Influence High School Graduation
    Donald J. Hernandez, Hunter College and the Graduate Center,

  6. I am impressed. I don't think Ive met anyone who knows as much about this subject as you do. You are truly well informed and very intelligent. You wrote something that people could understand and made the subject intriguing for everyone. Really, great blog you have got here. tallahassee seamless gutters

  7. I hope you will share such type of impressive contents again with us so that we can utilize it and get more advantage. North Carolina Gutter Contracting company

  8. May I use your photo of the rain gutters on my blog? (teachingtheteacherblog.com)? I will give you credit, of course!