Watching for words
(Click for the Complete Online Parent Reading Guide)
Our world is literally full of words! And, since most modern families spend lots of time in the car, why not turn road time into reading time? It can be as simple as pointing out road signs and billboards as you drive. Read them out loud or ask your child to tell you what the signs say. You can also pop a story into the CD player to listen to on your daily drive to drop your child off at school, or ask her to read the menu if you stop for a bite to eat.
Want a more reading-intensive driving experience with your child? Plan a reading road trip! Here’s how.
- Begin at the beginning – Whether your trip is just a quick day trip to the museum, or whether it’s part of a week-long family vacation, you can start the reading before you even leave home by letting your child do some pre-trip research. Look up some information about your destination. Almost all theme parks, tourist attractions, monuments and campgrounds have information online about what they have to offer. Most will also send you brochures through the mail, as will the chamber of commerce of any city you plan to visit. Once you have the information lined up, let your child read through it with you. He will be thrilled to help make decisions about the family’s trip.
- Make some plans – Once the day and destination are picked, start the planning. Reading can be part of this process, too. Have your child read through guidebooks, for example, that list the kinds of things you will need to pack? Let him write out those lists, too. If he’s old enough, let him decide what you need to take. A younger child can write out the lists that you dictate to him.
- On the road – Once you’re actually traveling, watch for other reading opportunities. Let your child read the signs at the science exhibits, zoos and theme parks you visit. Encourage him to gather up any flyers he sees to read through back at the hotel. Are you going through a museum or on a nature walk? There will probably be lots of signs to read describing the sights you are seeing. Let your child read them to you.
- Make a memory – At the end of each day, let your child make a journal entry about what you did that day. If he has trouble getting started, talk a little bit about the day’s adventures. Prompts like, “Wasn’t that funny when the monkey threw his food at us?” will get your child’s creative brain going. Your child can also add comments to the pictures you’ll probably post online for friends and family, and even send some old-fashioned postcards. Once you’re back home, relive the fun by letting your child read his trip journal entries to you!