Full Circle Circle Time
Opportunity: Read to students as part of LitWorld’s World Read Aloud Day.
Problem: How to engage kids over Skype?
Solution: Check in with middle-grade author Darlene Beck-Johnson who shared tips from her own Skype visits.
Thanks, Marilyn and Darlene!
“When people make the time to read with children, children get the message that reading is important.” NEA
Students, parents, teachers and people from many walks of life, will read to children March 2, in recognition of “National Read Across America Day,” a program the National Education Association established 20 some years ago.
Athletes and actors will issue reading challenges to young readers. Governors and other elected officials will recognize the role of reading with proclamations.
Naomi Gruer, a children’s writer and preschool teacher, participated in a remote event, “World Read Aloud Day,” a few years ago.
“Reading to kids made me so happy because, in that moment, we explored the world inside the story together.”
To prepare the children for the online experience, Naomi asked them to listen for certain things as she read — a funny incident or a silly outcome or a character acting in a peculiar way. “The minute I was on Skype with the kids, everything else melted away. It was as if I was in the classroom with them,” she said.
Later, as a Microsoft Guest Educator, she was asked by several educators to read to their students. One request came from a teacher in Spain, who wanted English to be read to her classroom.
Naomi applied the same format to all her remote classroom sessions: an introduction, followed by reading (either chapters or picture books depending on the age of the students.)
“They listened actively and were ready to point out and discuss the humor. Introducing students to my dog was the ultimate ice breaker.” Naomi blogs at https://bmoreenergy.wordpress.com
What You Can Do:
There are many free and low cost ways to provide children with books in print, online, audio and video formats. For example, the “We Need Diverse Books” program provides free diverse books to schools serving low-income students around the country.
To learn more:
How to help kids develop the reading habit:
Keep books everywhere you spend time. Put them in the car, in every room of the house and tuck them in backpacks and purses.
Visit the library often. Knowing how to use the library and learning the benefits of a library fosters a love of reading as well as a genuine respect for the services libraries provide.
Marilyn Ostermiller is a long-time journalist and voracious reader of children’s books.