Create a Train Reading Chart

What You Need:

  • Construction paper in a variety of colors
  • Glue
  • Scissors
  • Crayons
  • Washi or artist tape

What You Do:

  1. Find a simple illustration of a train engine online or in a book. (A classic steam engine profile with a smoke stack is a good choice.) Print it out or photocopy it to roughly 5" x 4" and trace two engines onto the construction paper. 
  2. Use crayons or construction paper to add wheels to the engines. Write your child’s name on one engine and your name on the other.
  3. Now create a series of cutout paper train cars. These can be in the shape of rectangles with circles for wheels, or more elaborate. Be sure to make a whole stack of train cars so that your child has plenty to choose from when they complete a book.
  4. Explain to your child that for each book they read, they get to add a car to their train — and you will do the same to your train for every book that you read. Be sure to mention that because the books you read are likely much longer, your train may not grow as quickly as your child's train.
  5. Hang your engines in a prominent place with plenty of room to add cars as each of you finishes more books. Use washi or artist tape to affix the engine to the wall.  Place the train cars and a pen, marker, or crayon nearby. Encourage your child to get started right away by reading a book and adding a car.  Model good behavior by reading alongside your child.
  6. Once your child completes a book, help them write the title on a train car and add it to their train. 
  7. A variation on this theme is to create a "family reading train." In this case, you will create a single train, but use different colored cars for each member of the family. 

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