Read Aloud Thursday: Maps

David started kindergarten this week.I’m using the same curriculum with him (Five in a Row) that I used for John. One of the fun things about this is that we are revisiting books as a family that we last saw a few years ago. An unexpected benefit is that John mostly likes to sit in while David does “school” and he does some of the same activities that he did three years ago, but now at a higher level. I make this optional for him, but he thinks it’s fun a lot of the time. This week one thing we’ve been studying is maps which everyone enjoys.

Me on the Map

This is a fantastic book about maps and is hands-down my favorite for preschoolers or younger elementary kids. Joan Sweeney takes a fairly complex subject and presents it in a way that is accessible to very young kids. In this book, a young girl shows where she is on a series of maps that get larger and larger in scale. It starts with a map of her room, than her house, street, town , state, country and finally the world. The book then retraces it’s steps, zooming in to show how to find her special place on the map.

After we read this I had the boys draw maps of something in the house. David drew a simple map of their room but I was happy to see that he included himself on his bed, which I think showed he understood the idea. John drew a more complete map of the main part of our house and even included a key on the back. This was a nice example of how one activity was fun and worthwhile for multiple levels.

Mapping Penny's World.

This book by Loren Leedy looks at mapmaking and explores different kinds of maps through the eyes of a young girl and her dog Penny. Together they map the girl’s room, the backyard (where the dog hides her treats and toys), the neighborhood, and their favorite places at the park. Leedy introduces concepts like a map key and symbols and mapmaking tools like the use of a pedometer or odometer to measure distance. They also make different types of maps, including a 3-D model/map. The concepts in this book are a bit more advanced which is why I prefer the first one for younger kids. However, it’s still a good intro to these concepts and the illustrations and text are clear and simple. Worth noting is that Penny is the star of several other books that illustrate math concepts incuding measuring and probability.Treasure Map (MathStart 3)This book is part of the MathStart series by Stuart Murphy. We’ve read a handful of these and I’ve enjoyed most of them. This one, I’d give a mixed review. The plot is simple, a neighborhood kids’ club finds a treasure map and searches for the treasure. The concepts presented are much more simple than in the previously mentioned books and are more about how to follow directions on a map than on maps themselves. There is a lot that is unexplained (there is a compass rose on each page that is never really mentioned in the text). The illustrations are also quite odd, with sort of a fantasy going on at the same time the kids are following the map. The map switches from being one they hold to one they are walking on and as that happens there are things like clowns and a giant baby sharing the page with the kids. I found this distracting and just plain weird. I wouldn’t use this book as a main book in a study on maps, but since we were also talking about treasure and doing our own treasure hunts it worked as a bridge of sorts for us.


Head on over to Hope is the Word to see more of what parents and kids are reading together.

2 thoughts on “Read Aloud Thursday: Maps

  1. Yeah–Sweeney’s books are terrific, and my girls have enjoyed Loreen Leedy’s books, too.

    I need to get my act together and Row some books with my kindergartener. As of right now, she’s more or less an honorary second grader since her extra stuff is just to tag along with big sister’s history lessons!

  2. We don’t really “row” in the way it’s meant to be done. I mostly just use it as a way to organize my mind and make sure I’m doing some special things with the kindergartener. I keep it pretty simple.

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