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Reading Time Line


Beginning with Columbus's voyage, children can read their way through the centuries of American history, charting events on a time line as they live through them in books. Encourage children to try historical novels & biographies.
  • The RIF Guide to Encouraging Young Readers.
  • Cultural Heritage
    • 9-12
    • teen
  • Minimal
  • Indoor
  • Play

MATERIALS: Roll of adding machine or calculator tape, ruler, pen, a copy of a time line from an encyclopedia or history book, crayons or colored pencils.

Help your children decide on a historic period to cover in their reading. They may want to read about the Revolutionary War period, beginning with Johnny Tremain, or about the period from slavery to emancipation with such books as Jump Ship to Freedom, Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry, and Listen Children. An advanced reader can take on the whole world in the twentieth-century fiction with books like All Quiet on the Western Front, Hiroshima No Pika, and North to Freedom. Each child first draws a time line along a strip of adding machine tape, dividing the line by years, decades, or whatever time segment makes the most sense. With each book, a child fills in the time line with various dates and information; for example: The title of the novel being read at the point on the time line when the story took place. The title of the biography being read at the points spanning the lifetime of the person about whom the book was written. Important historical events mentioned in the books. Small pictures illustrating a story episode or historical event. (An illustrated time line is an interesting project in itself.) Noting events along a time line will help give your children's reading a historical perspective they might otherwise have ignored. For a younger reader, a time line can serve as a fun introduction to research and note taking.

Reading Time Line