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, February 6, 2012

To Snack or Not to Snack

That seems to be the question.

Some TRC sites always include a snack in their Read-Aloud. Others never do, and yet there are some that include a snack now and again as a special treat. When carefully planned, snacks can add a wonderful component to your Read-Aloud.

  • Kids always seem to be hungry, and feeding them is a good way to avert low blood sugar grumpiness. Our Read-Alouds take place in the evening, a prime tummy-rumbling time of day. Some teams even provide snacks at the beginning of their Read-Aloud to settle the kids and quiet growling tummies. Volunteers pass out the snack and start reading to the kids as they nibble.
  • Cooking with the kids allows for hands-on fun, so assembling a snack can sometimes serve as your activity.
  • Snacks related to your Read-Aloud theme can add an extra-special dimension to the experience.

  • Be sure to make sure your site allows you to serve a snack. Check with site staff before bringing food to a Read-Aloud. Also ask about rules regarding where food may be served. Some sites allow kids to eat at the Read-Aloud, but they may not allow food to be removed from that room.
  • Ask site staff about food allergies and sensitivites, and just to be sure, avoid nuts of all kinds and anything sesame. (Use sunflower seed butter instead of peanut butter.)  
  • Never use snacks as a behavior management tool -- do not offer it as a bribe or withhold it as punishment. Many of the kids we serve may have experienced anxiety about not having enough to eat. If you bring a snack, everyone at the Read-Aloud gets to enjoy it.
  • Try to make snacks healthy as well as fun. Keep in mind that our Read-Alouds happen either right before or right after dinner. 
  • Many sites have access to a sink and sometimes a microwave. You can also bring an electric skillet or kettle, toaster oven, popcorn maker or electric grill with you.
  • Clean up very carefully after yourselves.


Snacks don't have to be related to the Read-Aloud, but it sure is fun when they are! Here are some ideas from your fellow volunteers and TRC staff:
  • Fruit kabobs for a caterpillar theme (thread grapes, melon balls and berries on a skewer or piece of uncooked spaghetti to make a caterpillar). Other caterpillar examples can be found here. 
  • English muffin pizzas for a pizza theme
  • Ants on a log (celery, raisins and sunflower seed butter or cream cheese) for a picnic or bug theme
  • Bird-seed trail mix for a bird theme (sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, dried cranberries, cheerios)
  • Fruits and veggies of many different colors for a rainbow theme
  • Air-popped popcorn for a popcorn, native American or movie Read-Aloud (TRC has an air popper you can borrow)
  • Pretzels as the in-flight snack for a flying or travel Read-Aloud
  • Cocoa and ginger bread for winter themes
  • Sugar snap peas, sprouts or hard boiled eggs for spring themes
  • Fruit smoothies for summertime themes
  • Apples and pumpkin seeds for fall themes
You get the idea. Let the books inspire you. Get the kids involved and add taste to the senses you engage at your next Read-Aloud!

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

No comments:

Post a Comment