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, August 19, 2013

Finding Read-Aloud books on A Mighty Girl blog

Like the Children's Book-a-Day Almanac blog (here is our write-up from last April), A Mighty Girl blog is another fine resource to help you compose a strong list of books for your Read-Aloud.   

While A Mighty Girl's mission is girl-oriented, this blog is an excellent resource whether or not you have girls in your life. It provides a fun and savvy slice of family life for anyone who works with, lives with, or is interested in the universe of kids in 2013. 

The book lists in particular are a valuable resource and are especially helpful when putting together a themed Read-Aloud. Click on the "Books" tab at the top left of the navigation bar to find the book lists. 

The next time you find yourself needing just a few more books to complete your Read-Aloud theme, use A Mighty Girl's general interest lists. The site is strong on categories such as food/gardening, animals/nature, creative arts and other subjects that are frequent Read-Aloud themes. Open any of these and you'll find an easy-to-scan page (here is the one on creative arts, as just one example) that offers book options that could work for your particular theme. Each book is represented by its cover, followed by a synopsis, a description from a review source or Amazon, recommended age range, number of pages, price, publisher, etc. 

The books on a theme page are not presented in any particular order, but even so, it is quite easy to find the books appropriate for most Read-Alouds. Picture books are obviously identified because their cover photos are larger than those of chapter books. 

For example, if you’re trying to complete your book list for an air travel Read-Aloud (details here), click on A Mighty Girl's "Transportation" category. From the picture books listed, you might choose Violet the Pilot by Steve Breen as an addition to your book list. Violet is a young girl who loves to build things, including a plane that she enters in an airshow. Another option is Amelia and Eleanor Go For a Ride, beautifully illustrated by Brian Selznick, which features double-page spreads of Washington, DC, and recounts a night-time flight taken by Amelia Earhart and Eleanor Roosevelt. In a snap of the fingers, you have two great books to add to your air travel Read-Aloud!

The blog's other sections (Toys, Movies/TV, Clothes, Parenting, etc.) are as helpful as the book lists. We're happy to spread the news about this informative and well-designed site.  

This post was written by The Reading Connection's intern Margaret Fogarty.

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

Monday, August 12, 2013

How I spent my summer: interning at TRC

College students all across the country compete for internships that will develop skills and build résumés. Some dream of a "Washington internship." Everyone wants one with great coworkers and many valuable experiences. At The Reading Connection (TRC), I got all of that and more.

As a rising junior studying early childhood education at Wheaton College in Norton, MA, I don’t think I could have found an internship that fit better with my professional plans. Throughout the nine weeks I have been with TRC, I have been able to learn about the day-to-day and long-term operations of an influential nonprofit, plan and help run many Read-Alouds, help coordinate volunteers, work on fundraising projects and assist the staff with tasks that needed completion. I’ve even learned how to get jammed card stock out of a printer! Although I was here for a short time, the staff welcomed me with open arms and made me feel like a regular staff member. I was included in all staff meetings and lunches, and even got to interact with some of the many friendly and dedicated board members.

TRC's book supply
The office fish
Getting to plan and help carry out the Read-Alouds was a great learning experience. Doing research and outlining the Read-Aloud elements were important practice for the many lesson plans I will be writing at college and as a teacher someday. It has been interesting to find out what works and what doesn’t.  This experience has really taught me to think on my feet and go with the flow.

The most valuable experience that I will take away from this great internship is the time I spent with the children at Read-Alouds. TRC is doing such important work and I was proud to help accomplish it. Seeing a young boy’s eyes light up when he learned that he could keep the book he had just chosen was just one of the many moments I will always be grateful to have had.

An afternoon project: create a bus Read-Aloud

This post was written by TRC's summer intern Margaret Fogarty. TRC has two intern positions open for the fall semester: one is a program internship, similar to the one described by Margaret. The second is a communications internship, working on electronic media outreach. For details on both positions, see the TRC website.   

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

Monday, August 5, 2013

Providing back-to-school backpacks for TRC kids

Some of the backpacks filled and distributed in 2012.
Just as so many of us remember the joy of childhood reading, we probably remember the fun of new school supplies. Yellow #2 pencils,  boxes of new crayons, new composition books, all stuffed in a new backpack. 

You won't be surprised to learn that the parents of the children we serve often don't have the means to buy new school supplies for their children. To meet this need, we've partnered with The Boeing Company’s DC area offices for 10 years to provide backpacks, school supplies and books to the kids in our programs and other deserving agencies. 

This year, our goal is to provide 600 backpacks filled with age-appropriate school supplies -- pencils, notebooks, folders, scissors, glue sticks and crayons or colored pencils. And, because we're all about the fun of new books, each backpack also includes two new books.

As of today, we've exceeded our goal!  Boeing employees have once again donated generously to this effort and provided nearly $16,000 for backpacks, school supplies and books.  

Like our Facebook page, and then "like" the photos of Boeing, TRC and partner agency staff stuffing hundreds of backpacks.  It's an August ritual we've come to love!