Improve reading skills: Read on Vacation
Improve reading skills with travel.
Travel improves lives in so many ways, but it might be a surprise to some it will also improve reading skills! It is true. Travel improves the reading skills of kiddos that travel and see the world. You didn’t need another reason to travel, I’m sure but knowing you are improving lifelong skills for your kids surely makes you feel even better about planning that next family vacation.
How travel can improve reading skills:
Preparation for your family vacation improves listening skills.
Read to your child and get everyone excited about a family vacation. Snuggle together on the couch and use a few minutes each day to read about your destination. What will you see? What will you eat? Use these reading lists to find the right book:
Reading to your child:
*Gives an understanding of the written word.
*Gives a positive impression about reading.
*Enhances listening skills.
*Increases exposure to vocabulary and ideas.
Sometimes it is hard to read to your child and a road trip is a perfect example. Some get a carsick feeling when reading in a car – like me. It makes me sad that so much time that could be used for reading is potentially wasted. Audio books to the rescue!!! If you can’t read to your kiddos on a road trip then have them listen to someone else who can!
Where to get audiobooks?
*The library before you go!
*Tales 2 Go has an ENORMOUS library of titles.
*Cracker Barrel restaurants – Buy, read, return!
Reading with a purpose will improve reading skills.
Kids sometimes complain about having to read ‘boring’ stuff in school. You can’t really blame them because school stuff isn’t always the most interesting to each and every individual kid – and how could it be? That is the beauty of reading what YOU choose! Reading is a fun way to gather information on what YOU want to know.
*Read a book about your destination. Find out what your child wants to know. My son was very curious about when the kids in Peru went to school since the summer was when the weather was the nicest. So…did kids go to school during the winter rainy season? We read to find out.
*Seek out the really cool stuff about your destination. For example….butterflies drink the tears of turtles in the amazon. How crazy weird and cool is that?
Reading more than just books will improve reading skills.
According to the Educational Testing Service, the more types of reading material in the home, the better students are at reading. On family vacations there are a lot of different things to read.
*Read maps. How are you going to get from your hotel to the subway station? Find a certain animal at the zoo? Look at a map to find out!
Reading maps improves your spatial thinking which is another way of saying your ability to see in your mind’s eye. Visualization skills are critical in today’s and the future’s job markets. So, let your child watch you look at a map and see how to get from point a to point b. Older kids can have the job of plotting out the next day’s route. Give them real life skills that will last a lifetime. Read more here on the value of map reading.
*Read the ticket! Train, plane, museum, movie….teach them how to get information from it.
*Seek out info graphics for researching your trip. (Thank you google.) This skill is going to be more and more important for the upcoming generation!
*Put jokes in your child’s lunch before the trip. Kids LOVE jokes. My kiddos’ classmates look forward to the daily joke! Are you going to see Alapacas on your visit to Peru like we are? Try out this joke for size. On the front side of a sticky note write: Are you ready for an adventure? On the back of the sticky note write: Alpaca my bags! (Stick to the sandwich in kiddo’s lunch and have them reading when you aren’t even there!) This is especially wonderful if you child is shy. In no time the kids will be clamoring around to see the daily joke.
*Read carefully. Are you only allowed to bring one suitcase each? Is there a height requirement for that ride at Disney? Is this really laundry detergent? (I didn’t read closely enough and realized later it was fabric softener…so our clothes weren’t super clean during our trip to Canada, but they were at least super soft!)
*Read pamphlets at destinations like museums and zoos.
*Read to find your language. I love this door at a restaurant in Spain – covers a lot of the language bases!
*Read to find the bathroom! These signs are always pretty important.
*Read to figure out how to flush. Real world reading skills! LOL!
Reading to learn will improve reading skills.
In school kids tend to enjoy fiction better than nonfiction especially those texts chosen by schools to ‘prepare them for the state test’. We all know that last sentence was a really nice way of saying those nonfiction texts the schools choose are BORING! Have you read any your kids have brought home? Snooze-ville, seriously! But, schools are correct that reading non-fiction information is a critical skill. Travelers know it is super easy to practice this particular skill while on the road!
So you find yourself at a museum…or a train station…or a cafe…. Have your child read to gain information.
Which restaurant will you choose? Read the sign or menu outside and let kiddo help choose. We had to check out the menu to see if they served our 9 yr old’s beloved french fries.
Which train are we taking? Read the map and let kiddo help figure out which train is going your way.
What is this piece of art? Read the little sign and let kiddo help figure out ‘what the big deal is’ about this piece you are viewing.
Do the Flintstones really live here? Kids that read signs find the funniest things grownups might miss!
Read street signs to find your way and stay safe! Look left in some places for oncoming traffic.
Family vacations are a fun way to improve reading skills and learn together- about culture, food, art, people, history and beauty. Enjoy making those memories together!
Lastly, pat yourself on the back! Travel expands little minds, opens hearts, and improves skills of all kinds making travel kids global citizens. Enjoy the journeys and feel good about them! Let me know what trip advice you need. I’m happy to help!
Natalie, The Educational Tourist