Why Children Still Need to Read (and Draw) Maps

In a GPS world, where synthesized voices tell us when to turn to get from point A to point B, do kids really need to learn how to read a map?

Absolutely.

While many skills have become obsolete in the digital age, map reading remains an important tool for building children’s spatial reasoning skills and helping them make sense of our world.

Temple University’s Dr. Nora Newcombe describes spatial thinking as “seeing in the mind’s eye.” Spatial skills are what allow us to “picture the locations of objects, their shapes, their relations to each other and the paths they take as they move.” Maps support spatial thinking by helping children visualize where objects, places, cities, and countries are in relation to one another. Quite literally, maps help them figure out their place in the world . . .

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