Summertime drives can lead to countless adventures, and moms and dads need to always be prepared with ways to encourage reading while on the road. This reading checklist will ensure that car time is quality reading-together time.
Here's what you need to bring for reading adventures:
- Car travel pack
For many, your car is your second home because you and your family are driving around in it so often. Create a travel pack and leave it in the car to make sure you are always prepared for a reading adventure. Must-haves include blankets, folding chairs, and sunscreen in case you decide to stop at the park or a scenic spot to read outdoors. A small white board and marker -- or a note pad and pencil -- to use for sounding out words are helpful. Make sure you have a flashlight for every kid and extra batteries for night time reading. Snacks and water can keep everyone’s energy up whether it’s a short drive or an extended journey. Finally, a stack of books and magazines will make sure that your family is never more than an arm’s reach away from a reading adventure.
- Audio books
Listening to a book on a CD in the car is an excellent way to get kids excited about reading. Young readers can also read with the book while the CD plays. Have a parent or loved one record a story and have the young reader follow along with his/her voice. Your child will love hearing the familiar voice reciting a favorite book. An iPad or a tablet can also be used by the child to read a book while the audio is playing. Click here for more on the benefits of audio books.
- Your imagination
There are tons of games that can be played in the car when you bring your imagination along. Encourage young readers to read the signs along the way; not just “Stop” signs, but also the names of stores and signs in the windows, such as “Sale on Apples” or “Under New Management.” Tell the kids to read to you while you drive, ask them to make up a tale about the adventures you will have along the way, or have them imagine out loud what will happen once you get to your destination.
Ditch the GPS and let the kids help you navigate using a physical map. Reading maps enable kids to visualize your location in perspective to what’s around them. Kids will even enjoy looking at a map of your hometown so they can see on paper where their school is, where the local supermarket is, and where their best friends live. Maps can show them how far or close they are to your final destination. Older kids can learn about topography and geography, the scale of a map, the legend, symbols, and north-south-east-west directions. Print directions along with a map from the Internet when traveling to some place new. Give your older kids the task of being the car “navigator” and ask them to read the directions out loud for you to follow. At least they won’t ask: “Are we there yet?”