Reading Across America

Reading Across America

Photo By: Adam Sparks

Reading Across America

Summer vacation is almost here.  Kids are excited, and parents are maybe a little less excited!  It’s easy during the summer to forget about school.  However so many children backtrack over the summer months.

This summer my son and I are going to travel across America.  Now we don’t have the time (or the money) to actually travel across the United States.  So we are going to do it by reading our way through America.  Not only will it encourage us to read together, but it will strengthen our knowledge of American geography as well.  Here’s the plan:

Get a Map of the United States

I bought a simple map of the United States at the dollar store, but you can find them at almost any store. (Even Amazon.com has one for under $5.)  I hung the map in my son’s room so he look at it any time he wanted.  I also printed a map onto white paper for us to use as we read.

Read and Record Your Books

We started with a book about Kansas (because we were already in the middle of reading the Wizard of Oz).  We talked about where Kansas was on the wall map, and then we colored in Kansas on the paper map.  We also wrote the name of the book on the back of the map with Kansas next to it.

As we read each new book, we will talk about the state it takes place in, color that state on the small map, and write the book name and state on the back.

How Do You Choose the Books?

You may have favorite children’s books that you know are set in specific states.  (Strawberry Girl by Lois Lenski is one of my favorites.  It is set in the Florida everglades.)  If you do, start with those books.  However if you don’t know where to begin, these sites have some helpful lists of famous books by state for all age levels.

  • This picture lists a famous book for every state.  Of course, not every one of these books would be appropriate for children, but many of them are childhood classics.
  • This map includes a young adult novel set in every state.  If your child is an older or more advanced reader, these books may be a better choice for your child.
  • For younger children, mrsmcgowen.com has several books listed for each state.  The books are chosen based on either the setting of the book or the state in which the author lived.

I can’t wait to see our map get colored in as we read across America.  Of course, I realize that we won’t be able to read a novel from each state during just the summer.  I plan on choosing from a variety of different regions at first.  Maybe, my son will enjoy it so much that we will keep reading even when school starts again!  So pick a book and start your journey across the United States with your child today!

What book will you choose to start reading across America?

Elementary Reading Curriculum at Smart Tutor



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