Keeping connections alive during the summer, staff and school leaders from Oakside Scholars Charter Academy are dusting off their favorite books and reading them aloud for students to tune in to virtually.
Taking place every Friday evening, Principal Amy Tansel shared that she was inspired to create the Read Under the Stars virtual event after recalling a similar idea from an email from Scholastic. Additionally, the school already participates in Oakside Stories on Sundays, a similarly structured reading event. Reading Under the Stars is different in that it allows teachers to get involved, and Tansel was thrilled by the number of volunteers who wanted to take part.
“I really want to engage students and families in reading,” said Tansel. “Students spend a lot of time on phones and tablets, so to be able to appeal to them and their parents on a medium that is easy to use is an excellent way to encourage reading and keep them engaged with the school.”
Teachers are encouraged to select a book to share with students and record a video reading it. Now several weeks into the program, students have enjoyed listening to “The Monster at the End of this Book ” by Jon Stone, read by Mr. Jacob Dolson, “The Legend of Rock Paper Scissors” by Drew Walt, read by Ms. Kenya Vincent, “The Word Collector” by Peter H. Reynolds, read by Mrs. Tracy Chapo, and “Believe Me, Goldilocks Rocks!” The Story of the Three Bears as Told by Baby Bear, by Nancy Loewen, read by Mrs. Hanna Hall.
Oakside Stories has been a tradition at the school for two years, after getting its roots following March is Reading Month. The program took place on Sundays throughout the summer last year, and during the school year. “Parents have responded positively, and students often come up to me and talk about the stories I have read,” said Tansel. “This was the first summer that staff has gotten involved. I think it is super fun and keeps staff and students connected.”
Other titles that will be featured throughout the summer include “Dan, Dan the Taxi Man” and “I Need My Monster,” to name a few.
“Now, more than ever, we need to keep connections with our students,” said Tansel. “We haven’t been face-to-face with them for several months, so we want to make sure they see our staff and let them know that we are still here for them. Plus, we are often able to infuse books with our Moral Focus virtues so that we are able to continue to support and encourage positive character.”