Inspiring kids to read can be tough because it's so hard for them to see their progress. Even if they spend 20 minutes reading on a given day, it doesn't mean they can just take the next day off. Help keep track of your young reader's progress with a train reading chart. By using one train car per book, his progress will be more tangible and he'll be more likely to stay motivated.
What You Do:
Before we get started, it's worth mentioning that, although we made a train, there are lots of other possibilities for keeping track of reading progress. Get creative and be sure to settle on a theme that your kid is enthused about.
- First, cut out two train engines. The classic steam engine with its smoke stack is easiest to recognize in profile. Then add wheels of another color. Write your child’s name on one engine and your name on the other.
- Now make a series of train cars. A box car is basically a rectangle (the orange car in the photo). A hopper is a rectangle with a triangle cut from each bottom corner (the blue car in the photo). Be sure to make a whole stack of train cars so that your child has plenty to choose from when he completes a book.
- Explain to your child that for each book you read, each of you get to add a car to your designated train. Of course, given that you'll probably be reading longer books, you most likely won’t get to add as many cars as he does.
- Hang your engines in a public place with plenty of room to add cars as you read. Place the train cars and a pen, marker or crayon nearby. Encourage him to immediately sit down and read to see if he can add a car today. It's important to model reading for our children, so you should also read.
- As he finishes a book, help him write the titles on the train cars and add them to his train.
- You can also have a family reading challenge with one locomotive and different colored cars for each family member.