HomeQuest for LiteracyKids Reading in the Car: Can it be Done?

Kids Reading in the Car: Can it be Done?

Samples provided by Diono
The Children’s Book Review | September 23, 2016

After receiving a brand new Diono Radian®RXT convertible car seat and Diono Travel Pal designed to keep books and toys neat and organized, it got us thinking about reading in the car.

There are some simple ways to encourage reading among our children. It can be as easy as creating reading opportunities in a variety of different places and providing access to books by having them handy wherever our kids are. So how about in the car? As parents, we typically spend loads of time carting our kids from school, after-school activities, play dates, the supermarket, and the list goes on. It seems as though the car is a perfect place to keep a stash of books handy, right? We think yes, but we did some poking around first to see what information we could find for those of us that suffer from vertigo and motion sickness and want to throw our hands in the air and say no way to reading in the car. I mean, we get it; nobody really wants to use the plastic bags or fancy vomit bags they have stashed in the pocket behind the drivers seat or glove compartment.

We looked around the world-wide-web for reliable sources to provide the answer to our question of the day: Is reading in the car ok? The short answer is yes, however, it’s not that simple. For those of us that do get car sick, we should avoid reading while the car is in motion, but that can’t stop us from reading while the car is not in motion (see below for 3 times we can read in the car and avoid motion sickness). For more of the actual science behind reading in the car and why it can make us feel sick, here are the reputable sites and resources we found helpful.

3 Reliable Articles on Reading in the Car

Is Reading in a Car Bad for You? via The New York Times

The Science Behind Why You Can’t Read in the Car via Huffington Post

Why Does Reading in a Car Cause Motion Sickness via Scientific America

3 Times We Can Read in the Car and Avoid Motion Sickness

First of all, there are many times that we are stuck in the car when it’s not even in motion. Instead of pulling out the bag of cheerios or sticky snacks that will inevitably spill all over the car, or turning on the DVD player, or handing over the iPad, start by handing over some books.

  1. When the rare moment occurs that you’re early for the big kids’ school pick-up and you know you’ll be sitting in the carpool lane for a while, hand over a book to your little ones.
  2. You’ve just dropped your budding rock star off at guitar lessons and there is 15 minutes to kill before your gymnast starts tumbling, pull out a book.
  3. You’re on the interstate and the cars are at a standstill, yep, pass out the books to the backseat drivers.

reading-in-the-carUltimately, one can never be underprepared for needing spontaneous entertainment for kids. We’re definitely advocates of keeping a stash of books in the car. The proof is in the pudding! Well, the proof is actually in the car seat reading a book—and might we add that this pudding is doing it in style and comfort thanks to our super safe Diono Radian®RXT convertible car seat and very handy Diono Travel Pal. In case you are wondering about our little one’s current book choices, here is what you can see in her hands and Diono Travel Pal: Little Penguins by Cynthia Rylant and Christian Robinson, Duck, Duck, Porcupine! by Salina Yoon, Who What Where? by Olivier Tallec, Mudpuppy Goodnight, Goodnight Construction Site Magnetic Characters, and organic and handmade Rainbow Bunny (also known as Car Buddy) by Pebble.

The following infographics are brought to you by Diono in honor of Child Passenger Safety Week …


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Bianca Schulze is the founder of The Children’s Book Review. She is a reader, reviewer, mother and children’s book lover. She also has a decade’s worth of experience working with children in the great outdoors. Combined with her love of books and experience as a children’s specialist bookseller, the goal is to share her passion for children’s literature to grow readers. Born and raised in Sydney, Australia, she now lives with her husband and three children near Boulder, Colorado.

  • I usually only put books in the car if we’re going on a road trip, but I may have to put some in for just around town, too!

    September 27, 2016

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