Reading Road Trip: Construction Zone

Welcome to stop two on the Reading Road Trip! If you’re just joining us, be sure to download the roadmap so you can follow along. Also, sign up here for a chance to win a prize pack at the end of the summer! The reading road trip continues this week with a drive through a construction zone! Unlike construction zones in real life, which can slow us down or bring us to a full stop and add a lot of frustration to a journey, this construction zone is all about bringing a little construction-themed fun to the summer! So we hope you take some time this week to spend a little “building” time with your kids, reading books with a construction theme—whether that be books about building with blocks or bricks, toys or giant cranes. Continue reading for story time ideas and a construction themed reading list. Read : Books that fit the theme of “construction zone,” however you want to interpret it! FEATURED BOOK: Billions of Bricks by Kurt Cyrus Billions of Bricks by Kurt Cyrus is a book about b

ADA'S VIOLIN Review and Activity

ADA'S VIOLIN: THE STORY OF THE RECYCLED ORCHESTRA OF PARAGUAY by Susan Hood, illustrated by Sally Wern Comport tells the story of Ada, who begins takin lessons from a music teacher named Favio Chávez. The only problem is that musical instruments are in short supply, so the teacher has an idea to make instruments from trash! Ada chooses a violin made out of various items, such as an old paint can and pieces of scrap wood. With their recycled instruments, Ada and her fellow students form the recycled orchestra of Paraguay. The mixed media collage illustrations highlight the story's theme beautifully. This book will have you looking at "trash" in a whole new way!

  • What kinds of things had people discovered in the landfill, besides garbage?
  • Why did Señor Chávez start making instruments out of trash?
  • What kinds of things did the music students learn, besides how to play music?
  • Have you ever played a musical instrument? What was your instrument made out of?
  • Why do you think some of the students gave up?
  • Think about the items you throw away. Can any of them be reused for another purpose or made into something new? 
  • If you could make anything you wanted out of recycled trash, what would it be?
Do: Make instruments out of repurposed trash! Below are instructions for making a drum, some shakers, and a rain stick. 

For the drum:
  • A cylindrical container, such as an oatmeal container, including the lid.
  • Scraps of paper. Old wrapping paper or brown packaging paper work great.
  • A piece of old woven fabric, about a 12-inch square. Something from a worn out shirt would be perfect.
  • Large rubber band
  • Scissors
  • Tape or glue
  • Wooden chopsticks or unsharpened pencils for the drum sticks.
To make the drum: 
  1. Cut a rectangle of paper to fit around your container. Tape or glue it in place. Optional: Draw a design on your drum with marker.
  2. Set the container lid on top of the scrap of fabric and cut around it, making a circle 1-2 inches larger than the lid.
  3. Put the lid back on the container and cover it with the fabric. Use a rubber band to hold it in place, and adjust the fabric so it fits snuggly. 
  4. Groove to the beat!
For the shakers:
  • Various containers. Old plastic Easter eggs, medicine bottles, and candy boxes work well. 
  • Dry beans, rice, or beads.
  • Tape
  • Optional: scrap paper, markers
To make the shakers:
  1. Fill your container about 1/4 full with beans, rice, or beads. 
  2. Tape or glue your container closed. 
  3. If desired, decorate your shaker with permanent markers or colorful paper.
  4. Catch the rhythm!
For the rain stick: 
  • Cardboard tube from a paper towel or food wrap roll (the food wrap roll will be sturdier).
  • Aluminum foil.
  • Rice and beans (or pop corn)
  • Scrap paper
  • Glue
  • Rubber bands
  • Optional: markers
To make the rain stick:
  1. Put a line of glue around one end of the cardboard tube, then cover the end with a small square of scrap paper. Secure with a rubber band.
  2. Roll up a 6 inch sheet of aluminum, and crinkle it slightly. It should fit inside the tube, but have room around it for the rice and beans (or corn) to move (see image below).
  3. Fill the tube with about 1/4 cup of a mixture of rice and beans.
  4. Repeat step one for the other end.
  5. Optional: Decorate your rain stick with markers.
  6. Feel the music!

For more ideas, visit our post 14 Books to Inspire Creative Recycling