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, March 12, 2012

Embracing Our Differences

Team 3 at ARHA's Ruby Tucker Center recently chose “Embracing Our Differences” as its Read-Aloud theme.

The team introduced its theme by asking the kids to identify differences and similarities between two of the TRC volunteers who look different (gender, race, height, etc.) but have lots in common (favorite food, love of animals, work in the same city, etc.). They captured the similarities and differences in a Venn diagram. The Venn diagram provided a visual display of how much similarity exists between these two people who look different. 

The team then showed a short video entitled "The Animal Odd Couple," which is a story of a dog and elephant becoming best friends. After watching the video, the team led a discussion about how you might miss the opportunity to have a really great friend if you only focus on exterior differences. 

Here is The Animal Odd Couple video:

The team chose the following two books for the large-group Read-Aloud:
  • I Am America by Charles R. Smith, Jr. Smith is a wonderful photographer of children. This book uses photos to show a diverse group of children doing commonplace American things.
  • It's Okay to Be Different by Todd Parr. Fun illustrations engage children, while the text focuses on acceptance and individuality.  

The small groups used additional books by Todd Parr along with these other theme-related titles: 

For their activity, the kids drew self-portraits. In the words of volunteer Kevin Gilliam, "Recognizing that it is just as important to help the kids take pride in what makes them an individual as it is to accept others’ differences, we asked them to draw self-portraits, making sure to include what made them unique."  

The team is excited about building on this theme in future Read-Alouds by focusing on the diversity in our communities and among our talents.

For additional activities, consider the exploration of two eggs, one with a brown shell and one with a white shell. Have kids describe the eggs' different outside appearances and inside similarities. For details on this idea, click here.  TRC also created a Read-Aloud tips based on this idea back in September of 2010. For even more book and activity ideas check it out.

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

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