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

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Easy hands-on science at your Read-Aloud

Want to play with lasers? Have you ever blown up a balloon using yeast or baking powder, or looked for surprising patterns in stories or nature? 

AHC's Emily Ward demonstrates the expanding power
of leavening agents in a hands-on demonstration

A science-themed Read-Aloud lets you have all that fun while building reading skills. Many science concepts and skills are the same skills needed for reading comprehension:  careful observation, noticing patterns, prediction, and problem solving. A kid who might not be wild about a London, baseball, or poetry Read-Aloud, may come alive with a science theme because it allows him to investigate and experiment. And, best of all, science feeds imagination, creativity, and curiosity by encouraging kids to ask "what if?"

Dr. Michael Berman plays with light and lasers
Some volunteers have told us they are too intimidated to do a science-themed Read-Aloud because they find the topic too complex and worry an activity would be too elaborate or time-consuming. At a recent volunteer seminar, special guests demonstrated how easy it is to do simple but fun science activities at your Read-Aloud. 

  • Emily Ward explored the expansive power of leaveners with yeast, baking powder, baking soda, and balloons. 
  • Sol Livingston showed volunteers how to build pattern-building skills for the youngest Read-Aloud participants while reading Caps for Sale.
  • Dr. Michael Berman played with lasers and light reflecting, refracting, and diffusing, using common items like water and Febreze.

Attendees were also able to look at TRC science resources, such as science books, fiction books to go along with science themes, and materials to create hands-on experiences for the kids, like balloons, pipe cleaners, Lincoln Logs, and a popcorn popper.

Online Book and Activity Resources
You don't even need to plan the science Read-Aloud yourself. There are lots of resources for you online. 

  • Here are the science Reading Road Maps we gave out at the seminar. All of the Reading Road Maps were created by TRC and have been conducted successfully at our Read-Aloud sites. 
  • The TRC Blog has multiple posts about science books and science Read-Alouds.
  • Reading Rockets Family Reading Adventure Packs and Start with a Book have lists of science-themed books and reading activities already prepared for you, with appropriate age levels noted.

If you'd like to plan your own science Read-Aloud, there's a host of science book resources.
Try science. It is fun and oh-so-doable. Go on, build a rocket, take a closer look at a pine cone, bake! The kids will thank you!

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