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 16, 2013

Holiday shopping

Are you still looking for the perfect gift for the kids and adults on your list? Lucky for you, The Reading Connection (TRC) is here to help.

Books are a great gift for kids of all ages. Build a love of reading from the very start by giving infants and toddlers board books that were made just for them. Board books can stand up to the heavy love that babies give them.  They are resistant to tears and being chewed on, since their pages are made of cardboard.

Picture books can appeal to young people from toddlers and teens, depending on their design and content. Take the time to read through a picture book that catches your eye. You might be surprised at the wit or depth contained therein. Don't hesitate to ask a bookseller to recommend her favorite titles for the children you have in mind. 

"Early readers" are designed to help beginning and newly independent readers feel confident reading on their own. You'll know these books by the distinctive 6-inch by 9-inch size. Reading books on favorite subjects is a strong motivator for new readers; it's well worth your time to seek out early readers on your young reader's current passion. 

Novels and nonfiction books for older kids come in all shapes and sizes. Find out what gets your recipient fired up and go from there.  Some kids will want the newest book in their favorite series, and these series are available for all ages (one current favorite is Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Hard Luck). Ask a booksellers advice about the best choices for the age and interests of the child for whom you're buying. 
For the readers on your list, check out the many lists of top books of the year. Some of our favorites from this year are

Middle grade: Wonder and One Crazy Summer
Young adult: Allegiant and The 5th Wave

You can also find year-end recommendations at Goodreads and Indie Bound or on our wish list.  When buying books, please support your local independent bookstores, who support TRC.

Consider honoring friends and family who love books by helping to provide free books and literacy-rich experiences for at-risk kids and families. A $10 donation to The Reading Connection can purchase and deliver a book to the home of one of our Book Club kids. 

Monday, December 2, 2013

Winter Wonderland Crafts

Cold and snow outside make excellent reading conditions inside. If you are looking for something hands-on to do after you read about snow or polar regions, go play in the snow! But if you don't have any snow, and you don't want to make another paper snowflake, try these frosty crafts. (Click on the name of each craft for a link to instructions.)

Marshmallow Snowman
When it’s too cold to build a snowman outside, craft one inside using mini marshmallows – and you don’t have to worry about this guy melting any time soon. This craft leaves room for a tasty snack afterwards!

Paper Plate Penguin
Making this adorable fellow is a simple but fun craft for a young crowd. With just two paper plates, scissors, glue and markers, everyone can make a penguin friend.

Popsicle Stick Snowflake 
Forget cut-paper snow flakes. Go for 3-D flakes made with craft popsicle sticks. Decorate the popsicle sticks with white buttons, beads, glitter or anything else you can find at the bottom of your craft bin.

Handprint Polar Bear
Handprints can turn into just about anything, including this fuzzy friend from the North Pole. Blue paper, white paint and a marker are all you need for this frosty craft.

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