Teachers, principals, and students often share their love of reading with others. Now these same people are taking to the internet to expand their reach, using Facebook Live to tell bedtime stories and share their love of reading with others.
The benefit of reading aloud to children has been well-studied. A 2015 study in the American Academy of Pediatrics, found that brain activity was stimulated when children were read to aloud. Specifically, the portion of the brain that controls mental imagery and narrative comprehension were positively impacted when children listened to stories. Beyond academic benefits, an additional study in the American Academy of Pediatrics showed that reading aloud could positively impact children’s emotional state. It was proven to affect hyperactivity, aggression and general social-emotional development.
While there are many known benefits, some kids are missing out on traditional bedtime stories. This has led many people to turn to Facebook Live for help.
Keisha Yearby, a second-grade teacher in Virginia, reads to students every Tuesday evening throughout the year. Yearby encourages students to interact with her, usually through their parents’ Facebook page. They discuss how the characters are feeling, what the author is trying to accomplish with the story, and possible connections between the story and their own lives. Ms. Yearby’s storytimes often have more than 20 live viewers who interact with comments while she’s reading.
Memphis Principal Archie Moss has also developed a weekly storytime via Facebook Live. Moss’ initiative has been so popular he has received books from authors around the world. Moss’ objective was to build literacy and share books that resonated with the students in his school. “A lot of the stories we select are ones our students can see themselves in,” Moss told Chalkbeat. “Some students don’t like reading because they haven’t found a book where they see themselves represented.”
In a digital generation where young kids are often most excited about making YouTube and TikTok videos, two Delaware sisters have taken to reading bedtime stories to help kids fall asleep. Zaria and Hailey Willard (top image) wanted to share their love of books and reading with other kids. After much convincing, their mother agreed to let them start a nightly bedtime story on Facebook Live. The girls go to the library each Sunday and choose the books that they’ll feature each week. They’ve developed quite a following, with their nightly broadcast often reaching up to 100 viewers.
The benefits of reading to kids are widely known. Often times parents’ ability to read to their children are limited by time, resources or even educational background. Social media has become a tool for educators and students alike to help kids engage in reading in a meaningful way.