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 18, 2015

Breaking Rules: Better on Paper

While I was searching through Reading Road Maps on TRC’s Volunteer Central, looking for a theme, I came across Trouble Makers. It was perfect. My Read-Aloud team had been looking for a way to reinforce TRC’s Promises and reset expectations at the beginning of a new year.

I picked out a slew of great books, including one of my childhood favorites - Judy Blume's Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing. Tales tells the story of 9-year-old Peter Hatcher, and more often than not, Peter’s mischievous younger brother – Fudge. Fudge is always causing trouble: destroying Peter’s homework, dumping food on the floor, cutting his own hair. All in all, Blume penned five books featuring Fudge and his antics (Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing, Otherwise Known as Sheila the Great, Superfudge, Fudge-a-mania and Double Fudge).

Picking books was the easy part. When I began to plan an activity to reinforce the theme, I worried I had made the wrong decision. Columbia Grove readers are a large, enthusiastic, vocal bunch. An invitation to engage in troublemaking seemed like a recipe for disaster. Instead, I decided to have the kids write about Fudge doing something wild and crazy – rather than doing anything wild themselves. 

At the Read-Aloud, we used the TRC Promises (especially "RESPECT") as a way to introduce the theme and start a discussion about getting into trouble. In a large group, we read a chapter from Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing where Fudge gets into all kinds of trouble. In small groups, we read other books about mischief from the Trouble Makers Reading Road Map as well as M is for Mischief: An A to Z of Naughty Children.

The kids were given a prompt and each wrote one sentence about something mischievous Fudge did on his first day of school. Their responses were wonderfully all over the place, with many (mostly those written by the boys) involving various bodily functions. We compiled their sentences, added a conclusion and bound the pages together into a "book": Fudge-a-Palooza.  

For kids who quickly finished writing their sentence, we had a word search waiting with synonyms for "trouble maker". And for a snack we served, appropriately, fudge.

The Columbia Grove Fudge story

That week, Columbia Grove readers had two things to sign. As always, they signed their new books to grow their identity as readers as well as their personal libraries. They also signed the title page of Fudge-a-Palooza and, hopefully, also began to identify as writers.

The kids showing off their Fudge book and their new books

Guest blog post written by TRC Read-Aloud volunteer, Erin MacKay.

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

1 comment: