A Passport to Avid Reading

A Passport to Avid Reading

Jackie Boucher
Aug 8, 2011

It seems like it happened overnight. We woke up one morning last week and we suddenly had an insatiable chapter book reader on our hands. Our family has been familiar with Mary Pope Osborne's Magic Tree House series for a few years now. In audiobook format Ms. Osborne has saved our lives on a number of occasions: there was that 9-hour Moroccan bus ride last spring, that incredibly long wait in the aptly named waiting room of that tardy doctor, oh, and that time the grown ups wanted to watch the Oscars live, semi-uninterrupted. OK, that last one wasn't life saving necessarily but you've heard the adage "happy parents = happy kids"? It also hasn't hurt that our son tends to blurt out interesting facts during grandparent visits, like "you know it was a long time ago when the Titanic sank. It was 1912. On April 15th." This effectively makes him look like a genius, which in turn makes us look pretty good too. So we've sent mental thank yous to Ms. Mary on several occasions.

But now audiobooks are taking a back seat to the hand held variety and we are almost getting "Norm" status at the library as we cycle through the series. And it's great! It buys us more guilt-free time for meal preparation (should I mention my hair has been looking better lately too since I can have more quality time with it?). So what was it that took our son from being a casual part-time player to that of a real-deal reader? Yup. Mary Pope Osborne. Well, more specifically her online people. The people who developed her Passport to Adventure.

If you sign up to Magic Tree House online you can collect a stamp for each one of the books in the series and glue them into your printable passport. The trick? You have to answer 3 trivia questions about the book to see if you read it before you can collect the stamp. Now our boy is on a serious mission to fill his little passport pages with stamp after stamp. Whatever it takes, I say.

So there is nothing ground breaking in our story really. It's yet another example of the right thing happening at the right time. What about you? We would love to hear about your experiences with raising readers. What resources got your little ones going, online or otherwise? Any surprises?

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