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, May 20, 2013

Encouraging creativity

Creativity is an essential quality for children to have. It urges them to ask questions and learn about things they've never heard about. It pushes them to problem solve when put in an unfamiliar situation. It was the gem behind the creation of inventive devices and thought processes that make our lives easier and more interesting.  

There have been many articles published recently about the importance of creativity and how to foster it, both in adults and in children.  For adults, the Wall Street Journal suggests that one of the most important keys is to step back from the issue and daydream. Your mind just have the ability to find a solution or an invention on it's own, but thinking about it too hard may inhibit that ability.  For kids, the BBC reminds us how imaginative kids can be when given the time. Allowing them to be bored or to have unstructured time gives them the chance to invent imaginary worlds to act out, write or draw.

Sometimes we need a spark to get our brains thinking outside of our everyday boxes. Prompts can come in any form, even a picture. One of the great things about art is that even the youngest kids at Read-Alouds can be successful, they don't need to be able to read or write yet. 

Give kids a clipping of a picture, such as a part of an animal or a piece of a building or something that relates to your theme. Bring multiple options so each child has their own starting point. Glue or print it onto a page in a random location. Then ask each child to complete the picture in their own way. Their creative wheels will start turning with all of the directions they can take their art. 

Ask each child to share the story behind their picture. You'll be impressed of how much they've thought through their scene. If they struggle, ask what season it is, why the animal or person is there, where are his friends and any other question to prompt the child to explore the scene.

If kids want to continue to expand on their scene, ask them to write the story of their scene. Who knows, it could be the start of a great storytelling experience. 

For other ideas of open-ended crafts check out this recent post. The inspiration and artwork from this post comes from ArtMommie.

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