In the second grade, young readers are ready to begin using books as sources of information. In school, your child will learn about those special pages in a book that help him find what he's looking for. The Table of Contents page, the Index, and the Glossary are the three most important examples that he'll learn about.
There’s no better way to learn how these pages work than to use them! Here’s a fun activity that gives your second grader the practice he needs with the Table of Contents page. As he becomes more comfortable with using books as reference tools, he'll begin to build up a solid foundation for all of those future research papers he'll write in college! Navigating a book is definitely a skill that will come in handy later on.
What You Need:
- Several books which include Table of Contents pages
- Sticky notes
- “Treasure” (a fun reward, such a coupon for an ice cream cone, popcorn and a movie, or a trip to the park)
What You Do:
- Have your child gather up some books that have a Table of Contents page in them.
- Write clues on sticky notes for your child to use on his "treasure hunt." Each clue he finds will send him to the location of the next clue, with the help of the Table of Contents.
- Each clue should be easily located using a Table of Contents page, and completely hidden inside the book, so the sticky note isn’t too easy to find! An example of a clue could be: "What is your favorite pet? You'll find the next clue in the chapter about dogs." If you want to make things a little more challenging and send your child on a search through many different books, you can include clues like this: "Trees are an important part of our eco-system. In the book about trees, you'll find the next clue in the chapter that talks about how trees breathe."
- Put the sticky notes in the pages of the books in a sequence, so that they all connect and make sense. Make sure that with the last clue, you lead your child to his treasure!
- After you have all the clues ready, go back to the beginning, and briefly follow the treasure hunt yourself and read the clues to be sure that all of them are in the right place in the books.
- Finally, let your child begin his treasure hunt. Assist him as needed in reading the clues and the Table of Contents pages. When he finds the final clue, share the treasure with him! This is a great way to get your child excited about reading!
Liana Mahoney is a National Board Certified elementary teacher, currently teaching a first and second grade loop. She is also a certified Reading Specialist, with teaching experience as a former high school English teacher, and early grades Remedial Reading.