TRC Read to Kids

Welcome to The Reading Connection’s blog, where you’ll find the best guidance on reading aloud to kids. Whether you are a TRC Read-Aloud volunteer, parent or student, the book themes and crafts ideas, child development guidelines and recommended websites will expand your world. For 25 years, The Reading Connection has worked to improve the lives of at-risk kids by linking the magic of reading to fun experiences that inspire a passion for learning. Visit our website at

Monday, January 23, 2012

Fun, Not Frustration: TRC Game Plan for Read-Aloud Success (Part 1)

Do you ever feel like the odds are stacked against you? Engaging all the kids at your Read-Aloud in a positive way and managing disruptions is a challenging task. To help you, TRC has drawn up a game plan, with strategic plays to put you on the path to victory. Here’s the first part of the plan:

Play 1: Break into small groups after your first book or two. Divide the kids up by age, interest or need. Have one or two volunteers work with each group to provide a more personal and interactive reading experience. Split up siblings or other kids if they are edgy. If one child is especially bouncy or cranky, assign one volunteer to work with her one-on-one.

Play 2: Use space to your advantage. Arrive early enough to arrange the room to allow volunteers to sit with the kids instead of across a table from them, to allow for small groups to form and sit apart from each other, and to accommodate lots of physical movement.

  • If need be, move tables out of the way to create an open area where you can work with the kids. Just remember to put tables back where you found them at the end of your Read-Aloud.

Play 3: Incorporate physical movement into your Read-Aloud. The kids have been sitting still all day. They need to move. Now that you have space to accommodate it, play games, use activities that involve movement, or do a calmer or energizer with the kids during the Read-Aloud.

    An ARHA volunteer leads the kids in stretches before reading.

                                 Play 4: Stay positive. Good vibes foster good behavior.

                                • Redirect inappropriate or outrageous behavior. Meet disruptive behavior with a positive, personally engaging response. When a kid is acting out, often what he or she needs is caring, constructive attention. Channel challenging behavior by giving the child a job during the Read-Aloud. Page turner, sentence finisher, rhyme maker, illustration describer, activity setter-upper. You get the idea.

                                • Catch kids being good. Positive reinforcement works wonders. We all know how good it feels to be told we're doing a good job.
                                These plays help meet the kids’ needs (emotional, physical, social, intellectual), and will go a long way toward keeping everyone happily engaged.

                                Check out the next TRC EDU in February for Part II of Fun, Not Frustration: TRC Gameplan for Read-Aloud Success for more winning plays.

                                To receive credit for this online training, please fill out the form here.

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