by Scott Rhoades
A few years ago, when I started tracking my reading for the year, I made a game of it, for my own amusement. This game could work as encouragement for kids to read. With a little tweaking, it could even provide motivation when you are writing.
It's pretty simple. Each page you read counts as a mile traveled, and you track your progress on a map or online map service, like Google Maps.
That year, I went from Orem to Denver, then veered south into New Mexico, cut across Texas to the Gulf, followed the Gulf Coast around to the southern tip of Florida, then went up the East Coast all the way to Newfoundland, went around the coast of Newfoundland to L'Anse aux Meadows (just because I've always wanted to go there), went from there to Greenland, where I went around the southern coast, then around much of Iceland, then traveled through southern Norway. Then the year ran out. The whole way, I tracked my progress on online maps.
One nice thing about this little game is that it could work for any age. It could even work for kids of multiple ages. You could set a goal, like from home to Grandma's house or Disneyland, or whatever works for your family. You could include little Geography lessons or projects along the way so the reading progress is more than a line on the map.
As a writer, you could modify the game to encourage you to write. For example, maybe every five or ten words you write put you another mile down the road. Tailor it to your writing goals to make the game work for you.
A game like this might add an extra level of fun to your child's reading or to your writing. Reading or writing your way from Salt Lake City to New York City might be, for some people, more fun that saying you read ten books or wrote 25,000 words. It worked for me, at least for that one year.