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, April 4, 2016

Repurpose, reuse, recycle: Earth Day Read-Aloud activity ideas

In honor of Earth Day, April 22nd, here's a bonus blog post with ideas to help you plan a Read-Aloud that repurposes materials that would otherwise end up in a landfill for your activity.

Here are some ideas for activities using often-discarded items.

Bubble wrap lends itself to all kinds of crafts and games. Check out these websites for ideas to use bubble wrap to paint, sculpt, print and create animals, bugs or clouds -- all great Earth Day topics.

You can also use bubble wrap for a hoppin' poppin' dance party. That's right: put bubble wrap on the floor, turn on some music and dance! Read some books about music, dancing or noise and get dancing! The kids will love the satisfying snap the bubble wrap makes at they cut the rug.

TRC has lots of bubble wrap on hand at the office for you. Just call or email Stephanie for your supply.

Empty toilet paper and paper towel rolls can morph in to all kinds of cool stuff. Here's a TRC blog post with lots of ideas

For an ecology oriented Read-Aloud using tubes, find your favorite version of Jack and the Beanstalk or read Growing Vegetable Soup by Lois Ehlert and then grow some seeds in a tube.

TRC has lots of TP tubes on hand at the office. Just call or email Stephanie for your supply.

Who doesn't have a drawer full of old t-shirts? With nothing but a pair of scissors, you can transform old t-shirts into tote bags. To go along with the project, read Max's Dragon Shirt by Rosemary Wells or other favorite books about clothes.  

While we're talking about bags, read a book about plastic or other non-biodegradable trash, like Eric Carle's 10 Little Rubber Ducks. Talk about why stores are trying to cut back on use of plastic bags, and then help each kid make his own reusable tote bag.

Cardboard boxes are full of creative potential. If you receive lots of boxes in the mail or have recently moved, you have all the boxes you need. Bring different sized boxes and encourage kids to make their own sculptures or city scapes, or try some of these ideas. Read books about architecture, sculpture or imagination, and let the building begin.

Galimoto tells the story of a boy who creates a toy from found objects. Your team could collect various items (wire, string, bottle caps, empty cans, plastic bottles, paperboard boxes, sticks, leaves, shells), supplement them with craft supplies at your site and encourage your kids to create toys of their own.

For ideas for books about the environment and ecology, check out these lists from PBS and A Mighty Girl.  This site also has a list devoted to children's books appropriate for Earth Day. Feel free to call TRC's office or enlist your local children's librarian to help you find just the right books.

Whether you do a Read-Aloud specifically about ecology or just use recyclable materials for your craft or activity, let the kids know that you purposefully chose an activity that repurposed materials and take time to brainstorm with them other ways to care for the planet. 

Happy Earth Day!

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

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