Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Literacy Outdoors

Ah, the weather is finally warmer, sunny, and springlike! This always inspires me to get outside more. Whether on foot or bike, to the park or trail, heading outside can be refreshing, inspiring and also (you figured it was coming, right?) another way to incorporate literacy into your routine with a little one. What, you say? How does heading along a trail or swinging on a swing, climbing a tree or running down the sidewalk relate to literacy? Next time you're enjoying the great outdoors, take a look around with an eye open for print and literacy experiences and you'll be surprised at what you find.

Signs are everywhere! Whether they're telling us about trail closures, identifying plants, or who can use what part of the park, signs offer a great way to point out environmental print (and visual literacy) to your child as you pass by. Additionally, parks and trails offer a great way to build vocabulary. Talk about the things you see around you and let your child ask questions and describe what he or she experiences with you!

An easy non-fiction series that introduces signs in a variety of locations is the Welcome Books: Signs in My World series by Children's Press. To start, try this one:

Signs at the Park by Mary Hill (Children's Press, 2003)

Sally explains the signs that she and her mother see while walking their dog in a park, such as those that direct them to a trail and show who can use that trail. (courtesy of Syndetics)

Head outside and enjoy the weather while it lasts!

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