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, June 18, 2012

Start With a Book offers a world of opportunities

With summer vacation around the corner and children promising to be as curious and eager to explore as ever (both in and out of Read-Alouds!) by Reading Rockets presents a fantastic way to pair books and activities for any size group.  Not only could these pre-packaged Read-Alouds be used by volunteers in TRC's programs, but they were designed specifically for parents to use with their children at home so you can use them with your kids and friends at home too.

The main feature of, which is aimed at children ages three to nine, is a library of themes from art to weather, all of which come with pre-planned reading and activities. The five steps to discovering the theme with a child (or children!) are listed:

Art and Artists
Choose books and book-related activities
For each theme, Start With a Book provides a list of books, both fiction and nonfiction, with links to where you can purchase them--though you could also  head over to the nearest public library to get it started. 

Bugs, Birds and Animals

Explore more hands-on activities 
Family Literacy Bags on every theme are available for download.  Every Bag includes three activities: a Creativity activity (a hands-on craft project), an Imagination activity (with writing, drawing or creative play) and a Get Real Activity that emphasizes how to draw real-world experiences and useful information from the books you've read.  A page of bookmarks suggesting even more titles makes it easy for kids who get passionate about a topic to continue exploring it at the library.
Builders and Building

Try some summer writing
Encourage kids with vivid imaginations who are taken with a particular story to write their own! has an archive of kids' writing prompts that you can use to get started--but make sure that imaginations are running wild!

Detectives and Explorers
Dig deeper and play
Reading Rockets has provided links to more resources that kids and parents can use together.  On its homepage, Start With a Book has a list of games and apps related to the themes in its library--so kids can see how the subjects they're reading about are related to the rest of the world. 

The focus of Start With a Book is to keep minds active over the summer, and to do it through books.  Be sure to use it as a resource in the coming months--and recommend it to parents who are struggling to keep children occupied during a long summer.

Post by The Reading Connection intern Anna McCormally.

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