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, April 1, 2013

STEM: A New Horizon

At last week's volunteer seminar, we asked volunteers for their reactions to Read-Alouds on Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM).  Here are some of the things they had on their minds. 

  • It will feel too much like school.
  • Kids don't like science and math, so STEM topics won't hold the kids attention.
  • How can math be made interesting?
  • Is there any good fiction about math and science?
  • Many STEM subjects are very complicated and the kids won't understand or will ask questions I can't answer.
  • There's not enough time to do complex activities required for these themes. 
  • The activities are often messy or require equipment I don't have.
  • The kids at my site are too young to understand.
  • The age range at my site is too wide to be able to talk about science or math.

During the seminar, we explored these topics.  By the end of the evening, most volunteers said their reservations had dissipated. When you think of science and math in the form of rockets, robots, baking and color, what's not to likke? So bring them to life at your Read-Alouds!

Here are some tips on how to have fun with STEM at a Read-Aloud.

  • Pick aspects of STEM that are exciting. See the the list of ideas that the volunteers produced at the seminar.
  • Adapt activities to the age of the kids at your site. Do more of the preparations beforehand if you are working with younger kids. Searching the internet and books like Bite-Sized Science will help you find manageable activities.
  • Check out the Read-Aloud outlines posted last week for books and activities that work with kids as young as three- or four-years-old.
  • Bring a reference book about your topic to help answer questions that are sure to come up. The kids will like the challenge of finding their own answers.
  • Books by Greg Tang and Loreen Leedy for math and Steve Jenkins for science are a great place to start.
  • Check out TRC's STEM Resource List for more websites and books to check out.
  • A wealth of math books and activity supplies are available at TRC for you to use. Check out the complete Math Resource List here.
Good luck!  Let us know how your STEM endeavors turn out!!

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

1 comment:

  1. Virginia Wallingford, Columbia Grove VolunteerApril 1, 2013 at 10:01 PM

    I think baking is a great way to use fractions/number to assist children in better understanding math. Although I cannot think of a book off the top of my head, I have made cookies from scratch with my son and he loves it. Counting chocolate chips and eating them after a job well done is always motivation for mathematics in our home.

    -Virginia Wallingford