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, October 13, 2014

Fall crafts

Now that the weather has finally cooled off, and it feels like fall, you'll probably be moving towards fall themes at your Read-Alouds.  Fall is great for craft options -- leaves changing colors, spooky Halloween decorations, etc. Have other ideas?  Please share them in the comments section.

Celebrate the colors of fall. Cover the tables with newspaper because this can get messy. Cut leaf-like shapes out of coffee filters and let the kids color them with magic markers. Then spray the coffee filters with water to create an amazing watercolor effect. After the leaves dry, gather them to create a colorful display.

These paper pumpkins work well as hanging ornaments or room decorations. For this simple craft, you need only construction paper, staples and string.  It results in a gorgeous end product. Different size strips of orange paper stapled at the ends make the pumpkin shape.  Add a stem and leaves for the complete look.

Everyone can make his or her own fall tree with this tissue paper craft. Let the kids draw their own tree trunks or, for a fun twist, trace their hands and arms on construction paper to serve as the trunk and branches. Then provide a variety of colors of tissue paper and encourage the kids create leaves for their tree. They can glue them flat, as in this picture, or crumple them to make a 3-D effect.

An empty toilet paper roll can become a cute bat! You'll need a black bat body, which is the toilet paper roll either colored with black crayon/marker or covered with a 4" x 6" piece of black construction paper. A template for the wings can be found here. You can collect toilet paper rolls for the craft or pick them up at the TRC office. This craft could be paired with the nocturnal animals Read-Aloud or with books like Stellaluna or Bats at the Ballgame.

These paper bag owls are a hoot! Transform brown lunch bags into adorable owls. Gauge the scissor skills of the kids in your group; if they're up to it, they can cut out their own wings, ears, eyes and beaks, or they can glue on pre-cut parts. Which other animal puppets would the kids at your Read-Aloud like to make?

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

Monday, October 6, 2014

Fall 2014 at TRC

Fall started with a bang at TRC with a brand new Read-Aloud site and a fantastic Community Reading Festival in Maryland and our volunteer picnic in Arlington. We'll continue our active fall with a family-friendly race on October 19th.

New Read-Aloud Site
TRC's Read-Aloud is up and running at the Greentree Shelter in Bethesda, Md. Volunteer teams began reading weekly at the site run by the National Center for Children and Families on August 19. We're thrilled to be reading with the kids at Greentree and working with our new partner.

Community Reading Festival
TRC hosted a Community Reading Festival at Ivymount School in Maryland on September 13 to celebrate the opening of our newest Read-Aloud site at Greentree Shelter in Bethesda.  Librarian Susan Modak and children's authors Mary Quattlebaum and Erica S. Perl read to and interacted with kids. Participants also could do crafts, get their faces painted, have snacks and enjoy a show by magician Jack Julius. 

Erica Perl engages young readers!

Captain Q and Crabclaw Chris
  explain their pirate ways.

Volunteer Appreciation Picnic
Delegate Lopez reads the resolution
As a part of our 25th anniversary celebration, TRC wanted an event to honor volunteers. We hosted a volunteer appreciation picnic for TRC program, community and corporate volunteers at Quincy Park in Arlington on September 28. Delegate Alfonso Lopez attended the picnic an presented TRC with a resolution from the Virginia House of Delegates recognizing TRC's 25 years of service to the community. 

TRC volunteers and family members enjoy lunch and each other.

Staff members from Nando's Peri Peri
Delicious food was generously donated by Nando's Peri Peri and drinks were donated by Honest Tea.  NexGenNow Arlington provided event volunteers.

In addition to food, games and camaraderie, TRC volunteers received new t-shirts pictured below.
TRC staff (and Eileen's son) sporting the new t-shirts
at the Boeing backpack stuffing event this summer.
Race for a Cause

JOIN US! TRC is partnering again with Acumen Solutions for its sixth annual Race for a Cause 8K and 1-Mile Fun Run on Sunday, October 19, 2014, in Arlington, Va. TRC is one of 10 charities benefiting from the race, and it's up to the registrant to pick the charity his or her registration will benefit. 

The start/finish line is centrally located in Ballston and is Metro-accessible. 

Our goal is to have 500 participants in this year's race. Sign up today!