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 5, 2012

What Are You Passionate About?

It's your turn to plan the next Read-Aloud at your site and you're at a loss for a theme. Instead of planning a book or a holiday theme, think about things that excite you. Have you traveled to interesting places? Do you have a fascinating hobby? Your passion is a great place to start for a Read-Aloud theme. The kids will see how excited you are about the topic and will be eager to learn more about it.

A volunteer from the Berkeley on a trip to Africa 
reading to children at a local school.

Prepare for the Read-Aloud by asking your favorite children's librarian for books related to your passion. You'd be amazed at the information available. 

Make the topic come to life by bringing in items to show the kids. If the items aren't fragile, pass them around the group for a more hands-on experience. By showing the kids a picture of you on a safari or a figurine of an elephant that you brought back from Africa, they'll be able to connect stories or lessons about Africa to this real-life experience you had, and the experience they had with you! 

Kids at the Berkeley are really excited about their
camping Read-Aloud in a tent.

Plan an activity where the kids can experience an element of your passion, whether it's trying on special clothes, learning new movements or exercises, reading a map or learning a new skill. Are you an avid soccer player or basketball fan? Read books about the sport, have a discussion about favorite teams and positions and teach them a few basics. Are you passionate about your job? Use your day job as your theme! Find books about your job that relate to kids. See if your organization has kid-friendly goodies that you could bring to the kids. Teach the kids special words related to your passion.

Remember, the idea is to give the kids background knowledge about a topic so when they encounter it again, they'll have some context. Building background knowledge is a crucial element in developing reading comprehension skills.  

Still stuck about what your passions might include? Think about these categories:
  • Places you've traveled or travel in general
  • Your ethnicity or where you're from
  • A favorite sport that you play or follow
  • A crafting hobby (painting, knitting, scrap-booking)
  • An outdoor hobby (camping, hiking, skiing, boating, gardening)
  • Your favorite food or cooking, baking, grilling, canning
  • A favorite animal
  • A favorite art form (music, visual art, dance, theater)
Passion is contagious and all-consuming. The more kids see that you're into the topic, the more they'll be engaged in the Read-Aloud and the less they'll get distracted or act out.

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