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We love books around our home. In fact, we use them extensively to teach or supplement all of our subjects including history, science, and math. So it is only natural that we use them to teach geography and map skills as well.
When my children began learning map skills, we first read several living books. This helped them begin to conceptualize the abstract concept of a map. It also helped them to see the purpose of a map and how important things like scale and a map key are. Using books to teach map skills is a gentle introduction to the subject while at the same time introducing important map skills. Here are our favorite books to teach map skills.
My Town is a good introduction to reading a map as you travel through the town with the main character. There is a map at the beginning of the book you can reference as you travel through his town. Some pages open out to show the inside of buildings, helping children correlate what they see from the street and what is happening inside.
Maps and Globes is a good introduction to maps and globes covering some of the basics such as why we need maps, how to read them, and a few different types of maps. It is drawn in the style of Geography from A to Z.
Mapping Penny’s World is a book that inspires children to draw maps of everything. Lisa is supposed to make a map of something for a class assignment. After drawing a map of her bedroom she decides to draw maps of places her dog, Penny, visits. This is a good introduction to scale and map keys. (If you enjoy this book, you will also enjoy Measuring Penny as Lisa explores standard and non-standard measurement (her dog) for a class assignment.)
When your child is ready to expand his cartography skills and draw more maps and maps to scale, Me on the Map is a great book to read. You follow along as a young girl begins by drawing a map of her bedroom. (This is a great place for kids to begin because it is a very familiar place.) She then draws maps of her house and street. She continues to expand her view as she looks at maps of her city, state, country, and the world. This book helps children see a variety and an increasing scope of maps.
We love books that include a map of travels for us to follow along as we read a story such as The World of Little House, The Green Ember, and Lost in Lexicon. Imagine our delight when we found The Once Upon a Time Map Book! It includes six fold out maps of literary locations with a key, compass rose, quadrants, and more. I bet your child will spend hours studying this book.
Maps and Mapping is perfect for making the abstract concept of maps more concrete. Hands-on projects are suggested for each concept covered in the book. Concepts include drawing, reading, and using maps, scales, contour lines, measuring angles, and latitude and longitude. This book would be an excellent addition to your home library and geography studies.
Atlases To Teach Map Skills
It is helpful to have an assortment of atlases on hand for your children to study and enjoy. These are atlases that we have in our library. Each is helpful in different ways.
Maps is a beautifully illustrated book that will provide hours of visual delight. In addition to learning about physical boundaries, cities, and rivers, places of historical and cultural interest, local animals and plants, and other interesting facts fill the pages.
Barefoot Books World Atlas provides a good overview of the oceans and continents with facts and pictures about each. It also explores how countries and communities have been shaped by their natural environments. This is another atlas that is a delight to the eyes.
Atlas of Adventures is a fun atlas to explore. There are hundreds of things to spot and learn new facts about every destination. This will provide even your non-reader a lot to see and discover.
National Geographic United States Atlas for Young Explorers is a much more traditional atlas. In addition to the typical boundaries, rivers, and major cities, it includes a short introduction of each state as well as interesting facts such as area, population, capitol, largest city, major industry, agriculture, date of statehood, nickname, and flag.