Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Raising a Reader

Map of DroonIn second grade Spencer was having difficulty reading. Books didn’t interest him and he didn’t want to expend the energy to get past the one-word-at-a-time phase that was holding him back.

I knew of Tony Abbott’s fantasy series The Secrets of Droon and came up with an activity for Spencer and his best friend. I bought a yard of canvas, hemmed the edges, folded it in half, rolled it into a tube and tied it with a leather lace. Presenting it to Spencer with a copy of the first book, I proposed that as the boys read the series they could use permanent markers to create a map of Droon on the canvas.

Each boy would add a portion of the map then bring it to school for the other to take home and add another section the next day. As they read and the map grew into a magical representation of the adventures they were experiencing, turning both boys into avid readers.

Middle Earth, Oz, Hogwarts, Mount Olympus, Narnia, Prydain—there are plenty of worlds to be explored. The only problem is deciding who gets to keep the map in the end.

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39 comments:

PastorMac's Ann said...

What a terrific idea! My kids would really like to try this.

Sallie said...

How fun!! My boys already love to read but they love maps too!! Maybe I can use this next year when we homeschool!! Great IDEA!!

Miscellaneous-Mum said...

Geez that's clever.

my4kids said...

Thats an awesome idea. To bad there isn't some way to copy it so they both can have it

Ashley said...

That is a great idea. I want to do it now with my husband. I can't wait until my kids are old enough to do this. Thanks.

UKZoe said...

THAT is a fantastic idea. Shame my two are now 12 and 15.

chelle said...

That is an amazing idea!!!! You are so creative!

SusieJ said...

Wow! What a great idea. I'm going to do something like this for my boys -- thank you!

Author Mom with Dogs said...

...and, you may have created a future book illustrator to boot! Great drawings.

JAM said...

You are way too creative for me. I wouldn't have thought of that.

That's a fantastic thing to do, and I'm sure they'll remember that in years to come. When the map ends up forsaken, try to put it and the book away. It'll be like Christmas morning years from now when you pull it out and show him.

Poppy Fields said...

I am making a mental note. I have a reluctant first grade reader.

Lisa Milton said...

What a great idea! We just might have to try it here.

Thanks.

Mayberry said...

LOVE it! Brilliant.

love.boxes said...

The map is so cool I want it too! I really love this idea. In our family, we are big fans of books on tape... a really great actor can add so much to a book, not to mention teaching vocabulary and diction by their expression of the words on the page. :) Love this idea though, it would work so well with so many books... The Secret Garden, Treasure Island, Alice in Wonderland... :)

Coach J said...

Well, well, well. Why hadn't I thought about that? Oh, I know, I'm creatively challenged. But you, you are NOT! Thanks for the idea for my daughter who won't go past the 1st page of a new book she picked out!

lifeasamama said...

that is an AWESOME idea!!

Pieces said...

That is such an awesome idea!

mcewen said...

How creative you are. With my girls, reading was always a comforting cuddling time, a gift for the rest of their lives.
The boys.....my older could read at three but 'lost' that skill, my youngest is hyperlexic - reads anything and everything aged 6.
So bizarre how life works out. Now I'm inspired to nip out and buy a new set of markers.
cheers

Ni Yachen said...

That is a great idea. I remember my mom reading Interstellar Pig to me and my brother. We than made a board game just like the one in the book. It was awsome.

Marie N. said...

What a great idea! I know this is something both boys will remember for a lifetime.

Beckie said...

Wow, what a GREAT idea! They did a really nice job.

I just found your blog recently through Blogging 101. I'll be back.

Katherine said...

Great idea. My boys both like to read, but I still might suggest it.

An Ordinary Mom said...

Fabulous idea! I still think you are one of the cleverest people I know!

kailani said...

What a great childhood souvenier that will serve later in life. That's something you could frame and hang up!

Loralee Choate said...

That is so cool. I just bought my son "The Golden Compass" (His dark materials" series to read and he is loving it more than Harry Potter, which is all we can get him excited about reading.

jeanie said...

As everyone has said, awesome idea!

Damselfly said...

You are a genius!

Joyful Days said...

This sounds like a fun project! We might be borrowing the idea.

slpenney said...

I just started a book called Gregor the Overlander. Totally applicable to this kind of project.

Also, a great girl-power book is "Kiki Strike."

Jo said...

What an awesome idea! I may have to try this with my little one once he starts reading.

Schelle said...

that looks like so much fun!

Dawn said...

This is an amazing idea! My kids love to read so we don't need to do it to get them interested, but I think this would be a great activity for over the summer. My 7-year-old can get a lot of reading in and some creative artwork. He will love this! It would be a good show and tell at school, too. I'll probably have to get some smaller ones for my 4-year-old and 2-year-old or else they will be jealous.

Daisy said...

This sounds like a great motivator! Children who need to visualize as they read would really go for this...as well as kids who just love to have fun with their reading!

Beth said...

What a treasure - both the map and the love of reading. Great idea!

sara - The Estrogen Files said...

Great idea! I'm going to have to remember that one for future use!

:: Suzanne :: said...

you are a very cool mom

Suzanne said...

Cool, cool, cool! That's a fabulous summer activity for my two kids to do together. And here I was worrying that their brains would atrophy during summer break... Thanks!

Sherry said...

That was very creative of you. Right up a boy's alley.

Judy Aron said...

That is such an awesome idea..
That's the ticket.. you gotta find a way to engage them.. pick up on what will spur them on to an adventure called learning.
You are astute to have figured out a way to make the literary world world become more real to these boys.