Books can certainly take you places in your imagination, but how about letting them take you to real places, too? Combine your family read-alouds with hands on activities by going on a literacy field trip.
Literacy field trips start with discussion:
Talk about the setting. What do you imagine this place looks like? What things would you hear? See? Smell?
Talk about the time period. When does the story take place? What is that time period like? How would it affect the setting? The characters?
Talk about the characters. What might they eat? What do they do? Where do they go? What do they like? What do they look like? How do they dress?
Once you’ve explored these ideas, take action:
Map it out. Create your own version of the setting on paper. Find similar locations close by if you can, or determine what you need to recreate it close to home. Take a picnic, plan a hike, or stage some book-based photos. Use your answers to the questions above as a guide for finding your perfect location.
Take a trip. In some cases, books are set in locations you can actually visit. If that’s the case, go! Visit a Civil War battlefield or colonial site. Take a trip to a relevant museum. Plan a daytrip or a weekend away.
Be creative. In other cases, a place to visit might not be immediately obvious. You might not live anywhere near the Eastern shore of Maryland if you’re reading Misty of Chincoteague, is there a horse farm close by? A trip to Oz is impossible, but what about a local science center to learn about tornadoes? If you’ve read the Boxcar Children, why not visit a train station? The only limit is your ingenuity.
Suggested titles and possible activities:
Frog and Toad series – expedition to a local creek or nature center
Number the Stars – trip to a local holocaust or World War II history museum
Alice in Wonderland – visit a local tea room for tea
The View at the Zoo – visit the zoo or nature center