Educational soft furnishings supplier Eden Learning Spaces has found bean bags could be the key to improving reading concentration having carried out initial research.

Early findings indicate that levels of comfort and concentration during independent reading can be increased using Eden Learning Spaces’ specially designed Bean Bag Reading Chair.

A primary experiment saw a class of 30 children aged 6-7 years old split into groups of ten. Each group took part in the same reading activities including a storytelling session lead by their teacher, followed by a series of questions to check how well they had been listening, and finally concluding with independent reading.

Observers measured effectiveness of the activities based on the children’s attention to the teacher, their engagement with the story and the concentration of individuals when reading independently.

Eden Learning Spaces managing director Mark Dolder said: “As an educational soft furnishings designer we always work very closely with educational professionals to develop our products to ensure that they enhance the experience of learning.

“The Bean Bag Reading Chair is designed to be the ideal seat for enjoying reading with its back support and seat that moulds to the shape of the child’s body.  Having received positive feedback from schools we wanted to test just how much this bean bag could improve the experience of reading compared to that of a normal classroom chair or even sitting on the floor.”

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Key observations drawn from each group showed the normal classroom reading format of sitting on the carpet produced good levels of concentration, interaction and comfort; the desk and chair set up saw pupils behave slightly more timidly in their reactions to the story and children were also more easily distracted by one another. The bean bag seated group were relaxed and engaged, and their posture appeared comfortable and content while reading their books during independent reading.

Abbeyfields First School teacher and key stage one leader Lorraine Sykes explains her impression of the bean bag seated group from her class: “I think on the whole the majority of the class sat really well; they were engaged and comfortable. When they were reading their individual books – they just sat, relaxed and looked really comfy while they were reading.

“I was surprised, as I thought the bean bags might be a distraction to the reading lesson, but they were in fact the opposite. The children behaved very calmly and found their own preferred position to relax into their seats with their books.

“I am really looking forward to seeing what other lessons and activities we can not only use the bean bag chairs for but hopefully improve the experience of.”

Eden Learning Spaces Mark concludes: “Our initial experiment has shown that there are strong indications to suggest that children could enjoy reading more if they are sat on a bean bag. This discovery could open doors to improving literacy and encouraging ‘reading for pleasure’ among children at Key Stage One.

“We plan to continue our research studies in the pursuit of finding a quantifiable conclusion so that we can publish a full report. We look forward to sharing our discoveries with the industry along the way.”

ENDS