Ready, Set, Read!

The ABC's of being a children's Librarian

Early Literacy in Everyday Locations: Public Transportation

on December 8, 2014

early literacy

I’m rather obviously borrowing this series idea from Storytime Secrets. I wish I had thought of it first. It’s a great concept to discuss how to make ordinary situations fun and educational. Plus, having a toddler, I know that certain situations can be frustrating with a squirmy little body that doesn’t want to stay still. Some of the tips in this series are just good reminders to stay engaged with your child, talk, read and sing to them anywhere and everywhere. These are just as much reminders for me as for anyone else.

To kick off my rendition of this series, I’ll start with Early Literacy with one of the most dreaded places to be when your child is rambunctious.

Public Transportation

Counting objects – You can work on basic concepts like counting, colors and shapes by having your children describe, list or name objects they see outside their window. Have your child count all the red cars they pass on the ride. Before getting aboard, ask them to guess how many stop lights they pass on the trip, then have count during the ride. Teach them about opposites by asking them to count how many people onboard are wearing hats and how many aren’t wearing hats.

Make Up Stories – Storytelling is vital for a young children’s literacy development. Let them get creative with their wishful thinking. Pretend the bus is taking you away to magical location. Have your child describe what their dream trip would be. Pretend the bus is really a spaceship going to outer space, what do you see floating among the stars?

Talk About Your Day – Another great way to build a child’s vocabulary and develop comprehension skill is to discuss what activities you’ve completed that day or what you have planned. As you board the bus or train, talk about where you were and what you were doing. Ask your child to narrate your day so far. Tell them where you are going next, or what you will be doing next. Or ask your child to guess what your next destination will be, and see how creative they get with this guessing game. Knowing what is going to happen next gives young children a strong sense of security. It also replicates a story by having a beginning, a middle and an end. Being able to recognize and narrate in this order will be a great resource when they begin to read novels in school.

Review transportation terminology – Whether you are taking the bus or the train, review the relevant terminology that goes with the trip. Point out the name of the vehicle (train, light rail), if it rides along tracks or the ground, if it requires a ticket or just a small payment, or if you use a pass to get onboard. Not only does this build vocabulary, but it also gives your child the information they’ll need later on in life when its time to board that bus on their own for the first time.

Read On The Bus – See if your child can read the signs posted within the bus or light rail. Ask them to describe what they see in the pictures if they can’t read yet.

Sing songs – The Wheels on the Bus is always a fun song to sing. Make up verses based on what you see happening the bus. For example:

“The people on the bus,

play on their phones, play on their phones, play on their phones,

the people on the bus,

play on their phones, all through the town.”

Suggested Reading

 My Bus by Byron Barton      School Bus by Donald Crews

 Train by Elisha Cooper         I Love Trains by Philemon Sturges

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