Children will have many chances this summer to be on the move; vacations, visits away, exploring the outdoors. Each can provide opportunities for reading.
Here are some tips and a list of books that will make summer reading on the road a pleasant experience!1. Use the atlas as a guide to places that you are going to visit. Locate the sites and the surrounding areas to help establish the child in the places that will be visited.
2. While planning the visit, write the Chamber of Commerce or travel agencies in the states and cities you will visit. Ask for brochures, tables of weather and information about recreational areas.
3. Let the young reader follow the travel on maps of each state. Mark the cities visited and plan the routes ahead.
All of these require the finest strategies of reading and predicting.
4. Make fabric tote bags for each young reader. Fill them with books, games and puzzles. If this is going to be a trip by car the bag will be a good place to collect the local realia of each city.
5. Share the pleasure of a book by taking turns to read aloud. This is especially fun with joke and riddle books. Even if this can't be done in the car or plane, plan a time everyday for reading; bedtime, a stop at a community park or use the print that is available in the area; signs, posters, marques.
6. Have each child conduct a survey of items seen on the trip; automobiles (he makes for older children, color for younger), letters of the alphabet seen on billboards, numbers on road signs, different eating places or service stations. (ive a prize to the one with most different kinds!)
Surveys, sketching, and graphs can be done on clip board on the laps (r cardboard with huge clips to hold paper).
7. Play listening games like riddles of favorite storybook characters, or one-liners from plots.
8. Encourage children to read menus, post cards and brochures. Take time to write to friends at home.
9. If you are going to make a visit and can plan a few months ahead, contact the elementary school or local library and offer to exchange pen pal letters with someone in the city. Then, when you arrive in the city you can actually visit the pen pal.
10. While driving listen to a tape of a story you have previously read aloud. Make comparisons of the two.
Some children's vacations will be in "their own backyards." Again, this offers many chances for reading.
1. Before planning a visit to a zoo (useum, bakery, farm, recreation area) study the people, places and things that will be seen.
2. Plan a trip on the city transport system, if possible. Let the child read the map and make the connections. Some places are offering special rates for summer trips of children.
3. Visit the library and find out about the famous residents of the area. Ask about other important events that happened in your own backyard.
4. Compare community maps from twenty years ago (0 years) and compare with ones from today. These are available through historic societies and library archives.
5. Help the child keep a log of things seen. Include items that will make good memories; an unusual leaf, a sketch of something interesting, a joke that was told on the way.
6. Select one point of focus and plan a neighborhood walk to explore. For example, how many different trees can be seen on one block? Collect samples of leaves and use reference books to identify them.
Other things to explore would be kinds of homes, playhouses, street signs, shapes of windows, churches and community buildings. The research to follow the exploration will lead to much reading.
7. Make outside explorations as night visits, too. And don't forget a reference book on the stars.
Some books for reading "on the road"
TRAFFIC, A BOOK OF OPPOSITES. Betsy and Guilio Maesta. Crown Publishers.
GILA MONSTERS MEET YOU AT THE AIRPORT. Marjorie Sharmat. Penquin.
IN YOUR OWN BACKYARD. Brown Paper Bag series
THE GLOW IN THE DARK NIGHT SKY BOOK. Random House
ROCKS AND MINERALS; and BIRDS (yewitness Books) Knopf
LET'S GO TO THE CIRCUS. Lisl Weil. Holiday House.
SKETCHING OUTDOORS IN SUMMER. Jim Arnosky. Lothrop.
A SNAKE'S BODY. Joanna Cole. Morrow.
THE SECRET LIFE OF HARDWARE, A SCIENCE EXPERIMENT BOOK. Vicki Cobb. Lippincott
HAVE YOU SEEN A COMET? CHILDREN'S ART AND WRITING FROM AROUND THE WORLD. Anne Pellowski et. al. John Day Publishers.
THE FIRESIDE OF FUN AND GAME SONGS. Marie Winn. Simon and Schuster.
* Marilou Sorensen is an associate professor of education at the University of Utah specializing in children's literature.