The Literacy Council begins online storytime series, From the Reading Room!

In an effort to reach students while adhering to social-distancing guidelines, The Literacy Council has begun an online read-aloud program called From the Reading Room! The program entails posting videos online of staff members and friends reading books from TLC’s Reading Room.

TLC Senior Program Manager Anna Norton said From the Reading Room! is an ongoing resource for the community during social distancing and has two goals.

First, Norton said one of the most important activities for success in literacy is hearing books read aloud. This can engage students, present reading as a fun and rewarding activity, and introduce them to story structure and a wealth of information.

She added that students can also listen to books that they are not yet able to read themselves, giving them another opportunity to gain the background knowledge necessary for understanding. And reading in person provides time for bonding.

“This, of course, is not an option with online reading, but under our current circumstances of social distancing, this is one way we can reach out to students and ‘be present’ in their lives,” said Norton. “So, our second goal is to continue to support our students even though our doors are temporarily closed to the public.”

TLC began the series reading favorite-childhood books of each of TLC’s staff members. Some of TLC’s partners (Billy Love of The Bascom and Sarah Pursel of Highlands-Cashiers Land Trust) have agreed to read children’s books of their choice related to their fields.

The first story posted was What’s In the Dark? by Carl Memling, pictures by John E. Johnson. What’s In the Dark was published in 1954. This bedtime story talks about what might be in the dark after the lights are turned off, read to you by TLC Marketing Manager Jenni Edwards

“We hope to have some of our tutors and other community members participate as well,” said Norton. “The next books read by TLC staff will be nonfiction to add to that background knowledge so critical for understanding.”

People can watch From the Reading Room! videos HERE or subscribe to TLC’s Youtube channel and watch them HERE.

Bundle of Books Program

TLC has also started a book loan program providing books for students as well as to the public. Peole can contact Norton at 828.526.0863 or anorton@maconncliteracy.org to schedule a pick up time. Norton selects five books based on age/reading level and gender.

“I know most of the people who have participated so far, so I have some sense of what they may like or not in general,” she said. “For members of the public with whom I’m not familiar, I have asked what their reading interests are. We are not necessarily able to meet all requests, but we get as close as we can.”

At the scheduled time for book pickup, TLC opens the front door to the entrance area of the building. The book bundle will be on a table with the student’s name for pick up, that was only one person is inside at a time and no on enters our building proper.

Norton said the Bundle for Books Program was also started in response to the COVID-19 situation.

“The local library is closed, and all of the parents and guardians we have spoken to have been very grateful,” she said. “Many have said they have enough books of their own, but for those who can use something new to read right now it’s a big help. Many people have time on their hands right now. When we began this program, we had no idea how the situation would evolve, so we have just included a note saying that we will be in touch at a later date about the book return or possibly a new supply.”

To learn more about The Literacy Council’s programs click HERE.

Article and photos by Brian O’Shea
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