Sunday, May 16, 2010

Road Trip Reading

I will be traveling with my children soon. Hopefully we will get a few chance to go places during the summer, but we'll begin with a rather long drive from Missouri to North Carolina. The drive got me to thinking about our last trip. We packed the car and headed to Hilton Head, SC for a vacation.

Our family likes to vacation and travel, even if only for a daytrip. For some reason though, we never seem to stop teaching. Okay, teaching might be an overstatement. What I should say it we try to have as many educational experiences as possible without our children feeling bamboozled. For instance, during Spring Break we went to museums in Savannah, GA, learned about the old Central Georgia Railroad, and a great deal about both the Revolutionary and Civil Wars. We also spent time at the beach building moats and castles, finding sea creatures and studying them, and discovering interesting shells (nature, cause and reaction, etc.) We even went to a quilt show. One of the bigger highlights, though, was reading "Charlotte's Web." This was the second time for our nine-year-old and the first for our five-year-old.

"Charlotte's Web" is a wonderful book and both my children loved it. I'm not telling you anything you don't already know. "Charlotte's Web" wouldn't have won numerous awards and had two movie adaptations if it wasn't a good and beloved book. Sometimes, however, it helps to be reminded of the reasons a classic is a classic with the new eyes and ears of our children.

As we read I remembered all the wonderful things about the book and E. B. White's marvelous writing style. Then I gained a new appreciation for the book. The real beauty to "Charlotte's Web" can be found in the book's versatility for teaching. Purely from a writing standpoint "Charlotte's Web" offers great insight into writing with emotion and description. Take a closer look at the story itself and there are lessons and discussions to be had on friendship, love, life, death, babies, reproduction, vegetarianism, spelling, pride, word definitions, and so much more. It's a treasure trove of experience and potential knowledge waiting to be opened, shared, and learned.

This is not the first time we read a chapter book while on the road. We try to find a book to read on all our family trips. That's not to say we don't let our children play video games and watch movies, we do. They also read books on their own and play car games, but family reading with a special book is always one of our favorite times during the trip. It's usually a great learning experience for all of us.