Friday, April 23, 2010

This Weekend We're Camping...

This weekend I am going for the first time with Nicholas to the boys' Cub Scout Campout. It's only an hour away, but you'd think I was moving the entire house somewhere, all the STUFF I am having to take.

Which leads me to the reading connection. When we found out the trip was coming up, I had the boys go on the computer and look up camping. I had them each make a list of the things they needed to take, and then together we wrote a list for the food (which is so much junk and processed cr** that Jamie Oliver may show up on my doorstep today).

How does this help? Well, they were motivated, and they had to read to find out what they needed -- then they took the next step to write and spell it. I didn't say they had to spell it right, but I said this: "If I can't read it or don't know what it says, it won't get packed."

They thought that through for a minute...what if mom can't read underwear and I get there and don't have any? What if I don't have my sleeping bag? So they wrote neatly and cared about the spelling.

Why do I make this a point today? Because it was authentic reading and writing. Kids know when they are doing worksheets that have no connection to their real lives...they give a lot less effort (unless a reward or grade is attached) and soon the memory of even doing it fades.

But my boys, because they are using the lists and it does matter to them, will not soon forget it. It will probably come up in some dinner conversation in their teens "Hey, remember when mom had us make those lists? We thought we were such explorers..."

So find real life situations where they can read and write. Read directions, cook, make grocery will all help them realize that reading isn't a's what you do every day!

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