100 Scope Notes
Inside 100 Scope Notes

My Quest for the Best Read Aloud Chair

I don’t ask for much. A library with some good books. A Rav4 with a working engine. A bowl of oatmeal every morning. I don’t think I’m a picky person.

But then I went shopping for a new read aloud chair.

I wanted something comfortable and quiet. No problem. That’s what I thought.

I live in a town that is the birthplace of the Herman Miller furniture company. If you don’t know the company, you might know some of their most famous products:

When it comes to mid-century modern style, Herman Miller is the go-to. But I didn’t need an expensive, designer chair. This thing needed to be a workhorse. The kind of workhorse that wouldn’t bring me to tears if it was damaged in any way.

So I visited the local Herman Miller company store. It’s sort of like an outlet mall. They have cool fabrics like this:

They have posters like this:

They have a coat hanger that looks like this:

And they had a few chairs:

And this was just one of three giant rooms. The place was a little overwhelming.

Then I started looking at individual chairs. Did I want to make a statement?

An even bigger statement?

Did I want to look like Roger Sterling from Mad Men?

Did I want something bright and uncomfortable?

Subdued and uncomfortable?

Comfortable and stationary?

Something that would make me look like a Southern gentleman?



Made of wool?

I realized I had to add wheels and armrests to my list of read aloud chair requirements. Both are very helpful during story time.

And I also had to adjust my price expectations. Not everything was a deal.

And just when I found something where the price was right . . .

I looked a little closer and realized that there was a reason.

This chair would unravel by October.

This was going to be harder than I thought.

But eventually, I managed to narrow it down. I found a simple chair that was comfortable. It had wheels. Armrests. It was quiet! A chair that could turn this squeaky flopper . . .

Into this . . .

Boring, you say? My reply: I like to let the books be the star of the read aloud show.

But what I REALLY want to know now is what YOUR read aloud chair looks like. On Twitter, share yours with the hashtag #readaloudchair.

About Travis Jonker

Travis Jonker is an elementary school librarian in Michigan. He writes reviews (and the occasional article or two) for School Library Journal and is a member of the 2014 Caldecott committee. You can email Travis at scopenotes@gmail.com, or follow him on Twitter: @100scopenotes.