The first day was such a success with a full Zoom load, we were flooded with emails from parents unable to access StoryTime due to capacity. We decided to create a rotating roster for each grade. This allows each child to access this book reading at least once across the week. I also had several requests from our Years 5 and 6 students wanting a chapter book rather than picture books. As such, the project evolved into a K-4 picture book each day at 1.30pm, with a further 2pm timeslot added for Years 5 and 6 students to be read Artemis Fowl.
Each day we have 50–65 at home and each class at school “Zooming” in for StoryTime. It has been lovely to see many teachers working from home also joining in. Staff rostered each day also wanted to be a part of reading, so we had “guest narrators”, such as our clerical staff, teacher librarian and members of the executive team. Depending on time, we also included songs and five-minute energisers.
In Years 5 and 6 we have nine to 12 children each day, sometimes joined by their siblings. These children began to co-ordinate snacks, so each day they all made sure they had hot chocolate, popcorn or chips to munch on as they listened to the story. They were not part of the same friendship group, but as the days went on, I could see they were beginning to engage in the Zoom chat about the story, characters and plot details. They have even requested we continue to read together in the holidays as we did not quite finish the book.
StoryTime has allowed our community to stay connected, as the children at home were feeling very isolated. Parents trying to work from home have also loved this time, as it gives them 30–40 minutes a day where their children are engaged.
StoryTime has drawn our community together through a love of books and we look forward to continuing this into Term 2.