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, December 17, 2012

The advantages of independent bookstores

Calling all last-minute shoppers! Feeling like it's getting too late to order online? Do yourself a huge favor and visit a local independent bookstore. You're in for an experience that far surpasses shopping for books at either a big-box store or on the online site who-shall-not-be-named.   

Families enjoy an event at Hooray For Books!
in Old Town Alexandria.

What do independent bookstores offer that you can't find using online book sources?  Or at chains?
  • A curated selection of books. Small stores have to prioritize, which means they select those books that, in their judgment, reflect the best and most saleable books. 
  • Knowledgable booksellers who are happy to give you a quick rundown of books they think you'll like. Tell them what you're looking for, you'll be astonished at their encyclopedic knowledge. And if nothing they suggest seems quite right, ask them again -- they love the challenge and understand the satisfaction of putting the right book in someone's hands.    
  • A relaxed atmosphere where people love to talk about books.  If you're there with kids, it's totally OK to let them sit or lie on the carpet and leaf through a selection of books.  In fact, join them on the floor and have an impromptu family read-aloud.  
  • Author appearances, where you can meet and talk to authors you admire. The children in your life can participate in story hours, meet authors and illustrators and participate in hands-on, high-quality book-related experiences.
Politics & Prose Bookstore invited students to
 hear Walter Dean Myers speak on the day he
became the National Ambassador for Children's Literature.
In addition to their role as gathering places for book-lovers and neighbors, local independent stores are good for your local economy. They return 68 cents of each dollar to the local economy. National chain stores return 43 cents, and online stores return 0 cents on the dollar to the local economy, according to the 3/50 Project, which advocates for local retail.  

Here are independent bookstores located around The Reading Connection's office in Arlington, Va.

Child's Play (Arlington, Va., Baltimore, Md., McLean, Va., Rockville, Md., Washington, D.C. and Baltimore, Md.)
Fairy Godmother, 319 7th Street SE, Washington, DC 20003
Hooray For Books! (Alexandria, Va.)
Kramerbooks & Afterwards (Washington, D.C.)
One More Page (Arlington, Va.)
Politics & Prose (Washington, D.C.)

To find the indie bookstores in your town, visit IndieBound.  

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

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