TRC Read to Kids

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Monday, July 11, 2016

Read-Aloud Report: Encouraging Kids to Be Themselves

Volunteers on Team B at New Hope Housing recently put together a captivating Read-Aloud session with the theme “Be Yourself.” It was a follow-up to a Read-Aloud presented the previous month on the theme “Positive Self-Esteem/Self Love.”  

Inspiration for some of the book choices came from this site

We began the session by reading the book Gaston by Kelly DiPucchio. This humorous book features two dog families, a family of poodles with one boxer sibling and a family of boxers with one poodle member. The kids enjoyed the characters and the message that your family loves you just the way you are.  .

Next, we read Mr. Tiger Goes Wild by Peter Brown. In this story, a tiger is tired of being “proper” in the city, wearing clothes and a top hat. He becomes a troublemaker when he tries to loosen up. He gets dismissed from the city into the wilderness, where he can let go and be himself.


The colorful book, Wild About Us by Karen Beaumont, came next. This book is beautifully illustrated by Janet Stevens, and depicts all the warty differences of animals in the zoo. A Kirkus review said that “ultimately the animals conclude that they are glad for their differences. After all, wouldn’t it be a shame if everyone at the zoo — or people, too — looked exactly alike?” It was also fun to look for the hidden fly in each illustration of this book. 

Finally, we read Red: a Crayon's Story by Michael Hall. This story is told by a pencil about his friend, the crayon, who had a red label but was actually blue. The story is, of course, about being true to yourself in spite of the obstacles. As with the other books, the kids had a great conversation. They wondered why no one noticed the mislabel sooner. They showed empathy for Red and were happy when someone finally saw him for who he was. 

Other books about being yourself can be found here.

Our activity allowed the kids and volunteers to learn about each other.  We brought in a giant paper cube and all of us, adults included, rolled the cube and answered the prompts on the cube (such as “I am good at…", "Three words that describe me are…", and "I am great because…”).  This activity captured everyone’s attention. The kids were great listeners while everyone took turns sharing their responses.

In this activity, the adults served as models for the kids. We were also able to provide positive suggestions for the kids to use, based on our observations during the session or what we already knew about the kids. For example, we were able to supply such suggestions as “You are a good listener." "You are good at predicting." "You are helpful because…” As we answered the questions, we colored in a heart on the worksheet with the corresponding number from the giant cube. 

As we progressed through the questions, the kids began to come up with answers that told us a little more about each of them. The boys shared examples of their athleticism. One child helped her brother when he was at a loss for words on what made him special. She said he was funny and caring. Other kids said that they helped their friends and were kind.
Before the kids left, the volunteers slipped an award over each kid's head. The award was made of a box of Cracker Jacks with a ribbon around it and a colorful “I am SPECIAL” label attached. This was a great hit! 

Everyone enjoyed this evening! We feel it was valuable for the conversations we had as well as providing an opportunity to honor the individuality in all of us.

Guest blog post written by Patsy Quick, a volunteer on Team B at New Hope Housing.

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

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