During these difficult times, many parents are finding themselves doing double and triple duty as they care for families, work from home, and take on the role of teacher. So Mom and Dad may not have much energy left at the end of a day, when a little voice says, “Can you read me a story?”
The volunteers from Read Aloud Delaware would like to help. They have been busy during the coronavirus crisis making videos of some of their favorite children’s books.
Read Aloud Delaware Sussex County Coordinator Stacy Penaranda explains, “Our volunteers have been missing the children they were used to reading to every week. These videos are a way to continue to reach out to our students.”
Parents can access the videos by logging on to the Read Aloud Delaware website at www.readalouddelaware.org and clicking on the Video tab at the top of the page. The videos also can be accessed through YouTube by searching Read Aloud Delaware.
A statewide children’s literacy program, Read Aloud Delaware works to ensure that every preschool child is regularly read to one-on-one. Prior to the current shut-down of schools, there were 270 volunteers reading to students in 41 Head Starts, child care centers, preschools and kindergartens in Sussex County.
Research continues to show that children being read to is the number one predictor of school success. Preschool children who are read to daily have heard over 1,000 books by the time they are ready to enter school.
Roxanne Nelson of Rehoboth Beach, a former kindergarten teacher at Rehoboth Elementary School, is one of the volunteers lending her voice to the video project. “What I think is the most important thing,” says Nelson, “is to engage the children and give them a personal connection to the book.” Nelson encourages the children to draw a picture, make a craft, or write something about the book that they heard.
Another video participant, PJ Kotowski of Lewes, likes the idea of keeping a connection. “None of us really got to say good-bye to the children,” relates Kotowski, “so this is our way of staying connected. And there are so many wonderful children’s books to share.
“I’m happy,” adds Kotowski, “to take over the bedtime story chores!”