This post is part of our monthly series highlighting books and activities from the Five In A Row (FIAR) curriculum.
This month’s FIAR feature is Katy and the Big Snow by Virginia Lee Burton. Katy is a big red crawler tractor and any child with an interest in trucks is going to love this book. The illustrations are wonderful – there’s so much to see on every page. One page is outlined with smaller pictures of more than 20 different kinds of trucks! You could read this book time and time again and still finding something new.
With all that going on, there are a lot of activities you could choose to complement this book. You could discuss seasons and all the jobs that trucks (and people!) do each season. You could talk about community services and all the people needed to run a city. You could talk about weather and snow. You could talk about art and charcoal drawing. You could talk about the literary device of personifying Katy the tractor.
But I love maps, so the activity I want to highlight today is map reading. There’s a simple map of the town of Geoppolis on pages 6-7 of the book. Spend some time on this map, pointing out the compass. If you have a compass at home, take it outside and have your child move around your house to determine what direction your house is facing. It’s even more fun to bring the compass along for a car ride around town. It’s fascinating to see what direction you are headed in – you will sometimes be surprised!
Take some time going through the numbered flags on the map of Geoppolis. Ask your child to find all the city buildings and also point out where there might be houses, farms, and railroads. Finally, have your child create a map of your own city or neighborhood. This is also a great time to get out an atlas or any other maps you have around the house and introduce your child to road maps, legend,s and more. I recommend the National Geographic Beginners World Atlas — a must-have for any homeschool library.