Planning a family trip this spring or summer? These trips can not only be fun and relaxing, but they also can include some opportunities to engage in reading.
Plan reading into your activities.Whether you are on a plane, a road trip or just a stay-cation, incorporate reading into your planning. You can read about the states as you travel through them or fly over them. If you are going to public museum, read about the history of the building before you go or read about the latest exhibit you plan to see. If you are on a tour, read the signs explaining exhibits as a family. Have you ever noticed how many signs there are about the animals at the zoo?
Set time aside to read.Even with a busy outside day, you can set aside time to read. Maybe you have 20-30 minutes before bedtime to read. Or spend some time reading in the morning about your upcoming day's activities. The key to making reading time a success wherever you are is to model good reading habits. So, if you are not reading with your child, pick up a book or a magazine and read away.
Offer an incentive for reading.Everyone is motivated by incentives. Maybe your child could earn spending money for your trip by reading a certain number pages or a certain number of books.
Read together. No matter how old your child is, there are benefits to reading together. Your child can be exposed to reading at a level higher than their independent reading level. So, take time to read out loud. Teach your child to read things other than books, too, such as a bus schedule, flight schedule and maps.
Make reading a destination.Wherever you are during your trip, you can make reading a destination by checking out the local library or book store. Often, the library offers lectures or tours, especially if it's in an historic building.
Reading and writing go hand-in-hand.Since reading and writing are so closely tied to each other, incorporate writing into your activities. Depending on the age of your child, you might want to add some journal time at the end of the day where everyone can write about their experiences. Then, trade journals and read about each others' experiences. You could have your child write about something they are excited to try or new people they have met.
Opportunities for reading are all around us. So, take advantage of spontaneous reading experiences as they present themselves.■
Tracy Christman is a psychologist with the Milwaukee Public Schools and the mom of two boys.